DUNEDIN, Fla. - Jose Taveras struck out nine in seven strong innings on Sunday, but took a no-decision as the Dunedin Blue Jays walked off, 2-1 at Florida Auto Exchange Stadium.
The game-winner was unearned against Harold Arauz (3-1), snapping a streak of 16.1 consecutive scoreless innings for the right-hander.
With the bases loaded and two outs in the bottom of the ninth, Arauz induced a ground ball to short from Max Pentecost, but an error on Emmanuel Marrero permitted pinch-runner Michael De La Cruz to cross with the winning run.
Clearwater (46-40, 8-8) benefitted from an impressive starting pitching performance for the second-straight day.
Taveras limited Dunedin (43-43, 9-8) to just one run on six hits and a walk, racking up nine strikeouts in his seven innings of work.
Cornelius Randolph kept his on-base streak alive by walking in the first and singling in the sixth, and the 20-year-old has now reached base safely in 21 consecutive games. That run is the fourth-longest for anyone in the Florida State League this season.
Mark Laird kicked off the game by legging out a triple to left-center, and with one out Randolph drew a base on balls to put runners at the corners.
Wilson Garcia then hit a liner that caromed off the pitcher Josh DeGraaf and trickled out to third baseman Luis Silva, who made the throw on to first to retire Garcia. Laird scored on the play to give the Threshers the early 1-0 lead.
DeGraaf would give the Blue Jays a season-high seven innings in the start, holding Clearwater to one run on five hits and a walk while striking out six.
Dunedin brought it back even in the fourth, when Mike Reeves lifted a solo shot to right to knot the game up at one.
It remained deadlocked into the bottom of the ninth.
Reeves again got the Blue Jays going with a single to right, before De La Cruz entered as a pinch-runner. Jake Thomas put down a bunt toward the hill, and Arauz's attempt to nab the lead runner was not in time, setting up the Blue Jays with two on and nobody out.
JC Cardenas then put down a sacrifice bunt to move both runners into scoring position, and the Threshers brought Carlos Duran in from right field to create a five-man infield. Arauz locked down the second out on a strikeout of Silva, and induced the grounder to short from Pentecost before the miscue ended the ballgame.
The series finale will swing back to Clearwater on Monday, as the Threshers host the Blue Jays at 7 p.m. on Bacon Fest Feeding Frenzy Night. Ranger Suarez is scheduled to make his Clearwater debut, opposed by Conor Fisk (4-9), and the game will be broadcast live on threshersbaseball.com starting at 6:45 p.m.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.