CLEARWATER, Fla. - After plating just six runs total over the last six games, the Clearwater Threshers broke out the bats to take down the Lakeland Flying Tigers, 6-2 on Thursday night at Spectrum Field.
Grenny Cumana reached base five times and turned in a defensive gem to start a double play in the seventh, finishing with a season-high four hits.
The Threshers (36-31) kept pace with the Tampa Yankees and remain in a tie atop the Florida State League North. Clearwater leads Daytona by one game, while Dunedin remains 2.5 games out with just three remaining in the first half. Clearwater does own the tie-breaker over Tampa, having gone 5-1 against the Yankees.
Edgar Garcia worked a scoreless first inning, but weather forced his early exit after the game was delayed for an hour and 39 minutes.
Upon resumption, Harold Arauz took over and dominated for four innings out of bullpen.
Arauz permitted just one baserunner, a two-out single by Joey Pancake in the third, and faced the minimum after Pankake was caught stealing. The right-hander hurled four shutdown frames, did not issue a walk and struck out three to keep the game scoreless.
Matt Hall kept Clearwater off-balance and worked around five hits and two walks, striking out eight in his four innings for Lakeland (28-35).
The Threshers jumped on the Flying Tigers bullpen in the sixth.
Former Thresher Anthony Gose, who reached the Majors as an outfielder but is making a return as a pitcher, entered the game to start the sixth and issued a leadoff walk to Jan Hernandez.
With one down, Emmanuel Marrero came through, ripping a triple to left-center to plate Hernandez. That snapped a streak of 12-consecutive scoreless innings thrown by Lakeland pitching.
Mark Laird followed with a single through the right side to score Marrero, and Cumana worked a walk. Fernando Perez entered in relief of Gose, and issued a walk to Damek Tomscha before Wilson Garcia knocked a two-run single off of Perez to open up a 4-0 lead.
Cornelius Randolph's opposite-field single scored Tomscha to make it a five-run inning.
Matt Hockenberry (2-0) earned the win after his longest outing of the season, limiting Lakeland to one run on two hits in three innings.
Clearwater's final tally came in the eighth, when Cumana singled, stole second, and scored on Tomscha's bouncer over second.
Pankake homered off Jeff Singer in the ninth to make it a 6-2 game, but Singer finished it off to send the Threshers into the All-Star break with a share of first place in the division.
The FSL All-Star Game will take place on Saturday at Publix Field in Lakeland, with Deivi Grullon, Drew Stankiewicz, Herlis Rodriguez, Jose Taveras, Cole Irvin, and Singer all representing Clearwater.
The Threshers return home for the final series of the half beginning on Monday, with a 7 p.m. first pitch against the Bradenton Marauders. Game two will take place at Spectrum Field on Tuesday, before the first half wraps up on the road at LECOM Park on Wednesday.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.