TAMPA, Fla. -- Ben Ruta knocked three hits and scored twice as Deivi Garcia tallied eight strikeouts and picked up his second-straight win as the Tampa Tarpons defeated the Florida Fire Frogs, 3-1, on Monday night at George M. Steinbrenner Field.
The Tarpons have now won nine of their last 11 games to get back over .500.
Tampa (32-31, 67-66) grabbed the lead in the second off Florida (21-39, 50-76) starter Joey Wentz when Ruta singled, stole second and later scored on a two-out single by Angel Aguilar .
Wentz (L, 3-3) got a strikeout to end the second and a fly out to begin the third before departing. The southpaw allowed one earned run on three hits in two and a third, issuing no walks while striking out three on 43 pitches (26 strikes).
Garcia struck out four of the first five batters he faced, holding the Fire Frogs to a walk and a single in the first two frames. The 19-year-old then stranded a pair of two-out singles in the third and worked around a leadoff hit in the fourth.
Dom Thompson-Williams took a pitch off the top of the helmet against LHP Filyer Sanchez to begin the bottom of the fourth and, one out later, advanced to third on a hustle double to right by Ruta. LHP Tyler Watson relieved Sanchez and a wild pitch allowed Thompson-Williams to score. Hoy Jun Park followed with an RBI single, scoring Ruta for a 3-0 lead.
Garcia added two more strikeouts in a perfect fifth before allowing a single and a walk to open the sixth. One out later, a wild pitch put runners at second and third. Catcher Jason Lopez picked Riley Delgado off of third, but CJ Alexander snuck into third on a stolen base. Garcia then walked Braxton Davidson before leaving the game.
RHP Christian Morris entered in relief and issued a walk before getting a fly out by Garrison Schwartz to strand the bases loaded.
Garcia (W, 2-0) scattered five hits and three walks over five and two-third innings, throwing 56 of 91 pitches for strikes. Morris (H, 2) stranded two more base runners in the seventh to complete his inning and a third.
Watson held the Tarpons to four hits in three and two-third scoreless innings, striking out a pair while issuing no walks in his longest outing of the season for the Fire Frogs.
RHP Greg Weissert entered in the eighth and, with one out, Florida loaded the bases on a walk and a pair of singles. Weissert struck out Kurt Hoekstra, but Marcus Mooney followed with an RBI single into center. Greyson Jenista tried the score from second, but centerfielder Estevan Florial threw him out at the plate to end the inning.
Weissert (SV, 4) completed the game with a 1-2-3 ninth.
Ruta (3-for-4, 2 2B's, 2R, SB) is batting .345 (49-for-142) over his last 37 games. Thompson-Williams (1-for-3, HBP, R, CS) extends his hitting streak to seven games.
The series continues on Tuesday, with LHP Dalton Lehnen (0-3, 5.57) squaring off against RHP Huascar Ynoa (1-3, 8.69) at 6:30 p.m. Live play-by-play audio will be available on the Tarpons Radio Network.
On "Tasty Tuesday," fans can enjoy a $24 all-you-can-eat menu from 6:00-8:00 p.m., including: hot dogs, chicken tenders, nachos, fries, popcorn, and fountain soda.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.