CLEARWATER, Fla. -- A trio of unearned runs proved to be the difference on Wednesday afternoon as the Charlotte Stone Crabs took the rubber match from the Clearwater Threshers, 6-3 at Spectrum Field.
Clearwater (20-14) jumped out to an early 2-0 lead in the first after Cornelius Randolph smashed an RBI double to center. Randolph later scored on an error by Charlotte third baseman Jim Haley.
The Stone Crabs (16-17) got one run back in the second when Brett Sullivan homered for the second time this season. Sullivan finished the day with three hits while reaching base four times and scoring twice.
Cole Irvin got the start for the Threshers and took the loss. Irvin (3-3) ran into some bad luck in the fourth when the Stone Crabs put up three unearned runs all with two outs, highlighted by back-to-back RBI singles from Jim Haley and Manny Sanchez.
Irvin allowed four runs, one earned on nine hits in five innings of work.
Clearwater battled back to make it a one-run game in the fifth when Grenny Cumana singled to right off of Charlotte reliever Taylor Hawkins, scoring Jan Hernandez from second to make the score 4-3.
Hawkins (1-1) earned the win tossing three innings in relief of starter Michael Velasquez, who only pitched the first two innings. Hawkins surrendered just the one run on one hit while striking out two.
The score remained the same until the eighth inning when Charlotte opened the frame with three-straight hits off of Threshers reliever Austin Davis. Haley came through again with a two-run single to make the score 6-3 in favor of the Stone Crabs.
That was all the insurance Michael Santos needed, as the Charlotte reliever locked down a four-inning save, giving up just two hits and striking out five.
Clearwater looks to get back in the win column when the Threshers welcome in the Tampa Yankees for a three-game series starting on Thursday. Alberto Tirado (1-2) will toe the rubber for Clearwater while Taylor Widener (1-3) gets the ball for Tampa. First pitch is set for 7:00 p.m. at Spectrum Field.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.