DUNEDIN, Fla.- Mark Laird reached base three times on Saturday night and Emmanuel Marrero finished with two hits, but Clearwater was blanked by Dunedin 6-0 in the penultimate game of the season at Florida Auto Exchange Stadium.
Laird turned in a 2-for-4 night including a double and a walk, bumping his average up to .287. He entered play on Saturday with the seventh-best average in the Florida State League.
Jose Gomez was held hitless in five at-bats to end his hit streak at 12, the longest streak for a Clearwater Thresher this season.
After the start time was delayed half an hour due to wet field conditions, the Blue Jays (72-65, 38-30) bounced ahead with a three-run shot from Juan Kelly in the bottom of the first inning. His 10th homer of the year also put him in the league-lead in RBIs with 68.
TJ Zeuch worked four scoreless innings in the start for Dunedin, permitting three hits and a walk.
Clearwater (66-71, 28-39) threatened against reliever Adonis Cardona (5-7) after a single from Marrero and a walk to Carlos Duran started the fifth. A passed ball advanced both runners into scoring position with nobody out.
Cardona managed to work around it. Laird's grounder to third resulted in a fielder's choice as Marrero was tagged out by the catcher Andres Sotillo for the first out. Cardona then got Gomez to pop out to short, and Darick Hall on a fly out to center to end the inning.
Sixto Sanchez (0-4) worked five innings and permitted three runs on three hits and three walks, striking out four. The 19-year-old righty hurled 85 pitches, 51 for strikes.
The Blue Jays opened it up with three runs off reliever Aaron Brown in the sixth. With one out and runners at the corners, Brown froze Josh Almonte on a 92 mph fastball for the second out, but Sotillo knocked in a run with a single to left-center.
Following a walk to JC Cardenas which loaded the bases, Jake Thomas sent a sinking liner to left for a two-run double to make it 6-0 Dunedin.
Tyler Gilbert entered and induced the final out of the frame on one pitch, getting Cavan Biggio to pop up to short to end the inning. Gilbert spun 1.1 scoreless in relief, striking out two.
Alberto Tirado returned to the Threshers from Reading's disabled list and worked a scoreless eighth inning, walking one and striking out one.
The final game of the season will take place on Sunday at 5 p.m. at Florida Auto Exchange Stadium. JoJo Romero (4-2) will take the hill against Patrick Murphy (0-0), and the game will be broadcast live on threshersbaseball.com starting at 4:45 p.m.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.