CLEARWATER, Fla. - Damek Tomscha's three-run drive in the first inning powered the Clearwater Threshers offense on Friday night, and Cole Irvin kept the Palm Beach bats at bay leading the Threshers to a 6-2 win at Spectrum Field.
Tomscha went deep for the second day in a row, and the third time this season, knocking a three-run homer to right to put Clearwater in front in the first inning.
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Mark Laird reached base three times and finished 2-for-4 with a stolen base in his Threshers debut, while Jan Hernandez homered and recorded his first multihit performance, finishing 2-for-3.
Irvin delivered another strong start to earn the win for Clearwater (7-3), holding Palm Beach (6-4) to just one run in seven innings.
After permitting a leadoff walk in the first, Irvin retired the next two before Chris Chinea singled to right. Luke Dykstra then hit a chopper over the head of the third baseman Hernandez to plate a run and put the Cardinals ahead early.
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That lead evaporated quickly.
Laird led off the bottom of the first with an opposite-field double, and Cornelius Randolph drew a four-pitch walk against Derian Gonzalez (0-1). Tomscha got ahead 1-0, then belted an opposite-field shot to right for his third home run of the season, putting Clearwater up 3-1.
Irvin took it from there.
The lefty pounded the strike zone over the next three innings, missing the zone just five times total over that span.
Irvin turned in seven innings, permitted just one run on six hits and a walk, and struck out two. 64 of his 85 offerings went for strikes - a rate of 75%.
A solo shot from Hernandez extended the Clearwater lead to 4-1 in the second, and Grenny Cumana came through to add some breathing room in the sixth inning.
With two on and two out, Cumana drove a double over the head of Casey Turgeon in left to score Deivi Grullon and Drew Stankiewicz, bumping the advantage up to 6-1.
The Cardinals loaded the bases against reliever Tyler Gilbert in the eighth, but the lefty was able to limit the damage. Chinea's sac fly made it 6-2, before Gilbert got Dykstra to line into a double play to end the threat.
Jacob Waguespack finished it off, tossing a scoreless ninth inning.
Clearwater will go for the series win on Saturday, as Alberto Tirado (1-0) takes the hill against Ryan Helsley (0-0). The game will be broadcast live on threshersbaseball.com starting at 6 p.m.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.