TAMPA, Fla. - The Tampa Yankees (23-23) split the double-header with the Brevard County Manatees (21-22) on Wednesday night at George M. Steinbrenner Field. Tampa fell short of a comeback in a 6-5 final in game one before picking up its ninth walk-off win of the year with a 3-2 final in the second game.
The day started with a very ugly first two innings for the T-Yanks. The defense committed four errors as LHP Miguel Sulbaran surrendered six runs (three earned).
Anderson Feliz missed a fly ball in left field as Nathan Orf reached second to begin the game. Orf later scored on an RBI groundout by Tyrone Taylor. Sulbaran then allowed four consecutive hits with one out in the second. Parker Berberet, Garrett Cooper and Brandon Macias each doubled and a single by Orf drove in the third run of the inning. One out later, Tyrone Taylor reached on an infield single and two more runs crossed as Matt Snyder missed a throw at first base from Cito Culver.
After nearly an hour-long rain delay in the top of the third, LHP Ramon Benjamin relieved Sulbaran (2-3). The Tampa starter allowed six runs (three earned) on five hits in two and two-third innings, striking out one while not issuing a walk. It was the third straight start Sulbaran had allowed six runs.
The Yankees rallied for five unanswered runs in the sixth and seventh against RHP Stephen Peterson (3-4). With a runner at first and one out, Culver blasted a two-run home run off the scoreboard in left-center. Tampa placed two runners on in the seventh off Peterson and Anderson Feliz hit a three-run homer off reliever Tyler Spurlin. The hit left Tampa one run shy of a comeback and Spurlinretired Mark Payton to pick up his first save of the season with Brevard County.
Tampa's offense showed up late again in the second game as Brevard County starter Michael Strong retired the first 16 batters he faced.
The Manatees opened the scoring off RHP Taylor Garrison in the third. Orf smashed a triple into right-center field and scored on a single by Orlando Arcia.
Garrison lasted three innings, allowing a run on two hits and a walk while tallying a season-high six strikeouts. It was just the second start of Garrison's career.
Brevard County added to its lead in the fifth against RHP Philip Walby. Mike Garza reached on a single and stole second before scoring on a single to center by Greg Hopkins.
The perfect game bid by Strong ended in the sixth as the Yankees' offense woke up. Kyle Higashioka singled off the glove of Hopkins at third base and Danny Oh chopped an infield single down the first base line. Jose Rosario then crushed a double off the base of the wall in left-center, tying the game at 2-2.
Strong allowed two runs on three hits in six innings, walking one while striking out a season-high nine batters.
The game moved into extras and Oh worked a walk to begin the bottom of the eighth. Rosario attempted to place down a sacrifice bunt but a pitch by reliever Chad Pierce hit Rosario in the helmet. After being examined by trainer Michael Becker, Rosario was lifted for pinch runnerPayton.
Culver placed down the sac bunt and Pierce intentionally walked Eric Jagielo to load the bases for Aaron Judge. The Manatees brought Jose Sermo in from left field as a fifth infielder with the hope of a groundball. It didn't matter as Judge grounded a ball past the diving Sermo at third base, scoring Oh for the game-winner.
RHP Cesar Vargas (3-0) worked three scoreless frames of relief for Tampa, facing one batter over the minimum.
The series wraps up on Thursday at 7:00 p.m. when LHP Ian Clarkin makes his T-Yanks debut. RHP Tyler Wagner (11-4, 1.54 ERA) is scheduled to start for the Manatees.
On Throwback Thursdays, presented by 98.7 The Fan, fans can enjoy throwback prices, such as reserved tickets for $2 and general admission for $1. $2 draft beers, $1 sodas and half price nachos will be available from 6-8:00 p.m.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.