Tarpons Squander Late Lead as Blue Jays Win 11th-Straight

Gasper Homers in Impressive Tampa Debut

Mickey Gasper (3-for-3, HR, BB, 3RBI, R, SB) smashed a game-tying 3-run HR in the 5th and reached base safely in all four of his plate appearances in his debut with the Tampa Tarpons on Wednesday night. (Mark LoMoglio)

By Nick Flammia / Tampa Tarpons | July 10, 2019 11:21 PM

TAMPA, Fla. - For the second-straight game, the Tarpons saw a late lead disappear as the resilient Blue Jays struck late to tie the game before winning in extras in Game One of a doubleheader, 10-8 in eight innings, on Wednesday night at George M. Steinbrenner Field.

 

Tampa (9-12, 37-50) falls to 7.5 games back of Dunedin (16-4, 57-28) for first place in the Florida State League 2nd-Half North Division Standings, with the Blue Jays now on an 11-game winning streak.

 

RHP Shawn Semple walked both Cal Stevenson and Cullen Large begin Game One. Dalton Pompey followed by reaching on a fielder's choice, and Stevenson scored as first-baseman Mickey Gasper threw wide of second in an attempt to force out Large. Pompey was caught stealing by catcher Jason Lopez , and Semple retired the next two batters to escape the jam.

 

Pablo Olivares looped a ground-rule double down the right field line and scored on a base hit by Oswaldo Cabrera to tie the game in the home half of the first. Gasper followed with a single into center and, after a double-steal, Cabrera scored on a sacrifice fly by Lopez.

 

Chavez Young walked to begin the second but, one out later, was thrown out by Lopez while trying to steal second. Dunedin then got three-straight two-out singles, capped by a game-tying RBI single by Stevenson, before a flyout by Large ended the frame.

 

Semple faced the minimum in the third and stranded a leadoff single by Young in the fourth before allowing back-to-back singles by Stevenson and Large to open the fifth.

 

RHP Hobie Harris entered in relief and walked Pompey before a sacrifice fly by Alejandro Kirk scored Stevenson. Ryan Noda followed with an opposite-field three-run homer to left, putting the Blue Jays ahead, 6-2. Harris got a pair of groundouts to end the inning.

 

Semple allowed four runs (three earned) on six hits in four innings, walking three while striking out three on 91 pitches (59 strikes).

 

Dunedin starter Nick Allgeyer retired 11-of-13 batters between the first and fourth innings before yielding a leadoff single by David Metzgar in the fifth. Olivares followed with a walk and, one out later, Metzgar scored on a ground-rule double to left by Cabrera. Gasper then clobbered a game-tying three-run homer to left, knotting the game at 6-6.

 

RHP Connor Law relieved Allgeyer and, one out later, Diego Castillo kept the inning alive with a walk. Wilkerman Garcia followed with a base hit to center, and Leonardo Molina drove in Castillo with a single to left, giving the Tarpons a 7-6 lead.

 

Allgeyer allowed a career -high six earned runs on seven hits on four and a third innings, walking two while striking out one on 81 pitches (52 strikes).

 

Harris tallied three strikeouts while stranding a walk in the top of the sixth, and Law picked up a strikeout in a 1-2-3 bottom of the sixth.

 

RHP Matt Wivinis took over in the seventh and the Blue Jays rallied with three-straight base hits to begin the frame, including a game-tying RBI single by Noda. Wivinis (BS, 2) got a strikeout, a groundout and a flyout from the next three batters to maintain the tie.

 

Gasper lined a leadoff single and was pinch-ran for by Deivi Munoz to begin the bottom of the seventh. One out later, Castillo walked, pushing Muñoz into scoring position. RHP Jackson Rees relieved Law and got Garcia to ground into a force out before striking out Molina, sending the game into extras.

 

Samad Tayor began the top of the eighth at second base and advanced to third on a wild pitch before Wivinis walked Jesus Navarro. Stevenson followed with a go-ahead RBI single, and Wivinis (L, 2-3) walked the next two hitters, forcing home Stevenson. Kirk became the fifth-straight batter to reach, adding an RBI single.

 

RHP Greg Weissert entered with the bases loaded and no outs, but got a strikeout, a groundout and a flyout by the next three batters to strand all three runners.

 

Molina took second base to begin the bottom of the eighth and, one out later, scored on a single by Olivares, but Rees (W, 2-0) struck out Estevan Florial and Cabrera to end the game.

 

Gasper (3-for-3, HR, 3RBI, R, SB) reached base in all four of his plate appearances in his Tarpons debut. Olivares (2-for-4, BB, 2B, RBI, 2R) and Cabrera (3-for-5, 2 2Bs, 2RBI, 2R, SB) also had multi-hit games. Garcia (1-for-4) hit safely in his debut with Tampa.

 

The Tarpons grabbed a 3-0 lead in Game Two of the twinbill thanks to a pair of two-out RBI singles by Olivares and Florial in the second inning off RHP Josh Winckowski. RHP Janson Junk retired six-of-seven batters while striking out three over two scoreless innings before heavy rainfall led to the game being suspended in the top of the third.

 

Game Two is scheduled for completion on Thursday at 4:30 p.m., with Thursday's regularly scheduled game slated to begin approximately 30 minutes following the conclusion of the suspended game.

 

RHP Clarke Schmidt (2-2, 3.48) slated to return from the 7-Day Injured List and pick up where Junk left off in the suspended game. The starter for Game Two is TBA. Live play-by-play of the action will be available on the Tampa Tarpons Baseball Network.

 

On "Taco Thursday," fans can enjoy an all-you-can-eat Taco and Nacho bar for $10, House Margaritas for $6 and Coronas for $4 from 6:00-8:00 p.m.

This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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