TAMPA, Fla. -- After being held scoreless for the first eight innings, the Tarpons sparked for four runs in the bottom of the ninth, but the Blue Jays held on to complete a three-game sweep with a 5-4 win on Sunday afternoon at George M. Steinbrenner Field.
Tampa (12-11, 47-46) outhit the opposition, 7-6, but Dunedin (17-7, 43-44) worked 10 walks and tallied nine stolen bases. The Blue Jays have now won 12 of their last 13 games.
LHP Dalton Lehnen kept Dunedin off the board until the third. Joshua Palacios lined a leadoff double and, after stealing third, scored when catcher Miguel Torres threw the ball into left field.
Lehnen managed to strand a pair of leadoff walks in the fourth, but found more trouble in the fifth. Palacios and Santiago Espinal hit back-to-back singles, placing runners on the corners with no outs. Palacios then scored on a groundout by Kevin Smith, giving the Blue Jays a 2-0 lead.
A groundout and a pop out got Lehnen (L, 0-1) through the fifth. The 22-year-old threw a season-high 101 pitches (53 strikes) while holding Dunedin to two runs (one earned) on five hits in five innings, walking four while striking out three.
RHP Connor Eller held the Tarpons to three base runners over the first five innings before Tampa threatened in the sixth. Ben Ruta lined a one-out double and Brandon Wagner drew a two-out walk, putting the tying runs on base. After a mound visit, Eller got Isiah Giliam to fly out onto the warning track in centerfield to end the inning.
Eller (W, 5-2) scattered three hits and two walks over a season-high six scoreless innings, throwing 46 of 79 pitches for strikes.
RHP Greg Weissert worked around a pair of walks in the sixth, but walked three more in the seventh. Palacios walked, stole second and advanced on a sacrifice bunt by Espinal. Smith was then intentionally walked before stealing second. Palacios then scored as Riley Adams reached on an error by shortstop Diego Castillo .
A wild pitch then scored Smith. Ivan Castillo followed with a walk and stole second. After a strikeout of Kacy Clemens, RHP Kaleb Ort relieved Weissert and punched out Rodrigo Orozco to end the frame.
Yeltsin Gudino drew a leadoff walk in the eighth and later scored the would-be decisive run on a two-out single by Espinal. Ort struck out three batters in the inning.
RHP Ty Tice took the baton from Eller and retired all six batters he faced in the seventh and eighth. RHP William Ouellette entered in the ninth and the Tarpons came alive.
Castillo singled, Wagner walked and both advanced on a wild pitch. Gilliam followed with an RBI single. Wagner then scored as Dom Thompson-Williams reached on a fielder's choice. Angel Aguilar followed with a two-run homerun over the short porch in right field, cutting the deficit to 5-4.
RHP Jake Fishman relived Ouellette and, one out later, Daniel Barrios singled to right. Fishman (SV, 5) then struck out Torres to end the game.
Wagner (0-for-1, 3BB, R) reached base three times.
Up next, the Tarpons travel to Port Charlotte for a three-game series with the Stone Crabs at Charlotte Sports Park. RHP Nick Green (6-3, 2.80) will get the nod in the series-opener on Monday at 6:35 p.m. Live play-by-play audio will be available on the Charlotte Stone Crabs Baseball Network.
After playing three games in Dunedin on July 19th-21st, the Tarpons will open a seven-game home stand with a four-game series against the Bradenton Marauders, beginning on Monday, July 23rd, at 6:30 p.m. On "Dollar Dog Night," bring your dog to the game with the purchase of a $1 Dog Ticket. Fans can also enjoy $1 hot dogs all night long.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.