Bradley's Brilliant Performance Wasted in 11-Inning Loss
JUPITER, Fla. - Despite Jed Bradley putting together the best start of his professional career, the Brevard County Manatees fell 1-0, in walk-off fashion to the Palm Beach Cardinals at Roger Dean Stadium on Tuesday night.
On a 0-2 pitch, Bruce Caldwell singled to right field off Manatees' reliever Stephen Peterson. With the winning run on base and nobody out, Brevard third baseman Nicky Delmonico played in on the grass, expecting a bunt from Breyvic Valera.
However, Valera elected not to sacrifice. He chopped one over the head of Delmonico into left field and put the winning run in scoring position. Ildemaro Vargas proceeded to sacrifice the runners to second and third and the Manatees (23-20) countered by intentionally walking Starlin Rodriguez to load the bases.
Peterson jumped ahead in the count 1-2 on Luke Voit, but things took a turn for the worst. Voit, who was playing in his first game with the club, lined the next pitch into center field to score Caldwell and give the Cardinals (19-26) the victory.
The heart-crushing ending put a damper on an absolutely brilliant performance by Bradley (4-2, 2.67 ERA). The Brewers' first-round pick in 2011 twirled his best outing of the year and of his pro career.
The left-hander did not allow a run over a career-high nine innings, while allowing four hits and striking out three without walking a batter. Bradley's control was spot on as the former Georgia Tech Yellow Jacket only reached one three-ball count to the 31 batters he faced.
Bradley's performance was another in a long line of amazing outings put together by the Manatees' pitching staff. Over the course of their current five-game road trip, Brevard County's starters have a 0.25 ERA, allowing just two runs - one earned - over 36 innings.
Bradley remained poised when Palm Beach put runners in scoring position. After a Rodriguez double and an Alex Mejia single in the fourth, Bradley induced a double play ball off the bat of Nick Martini to get out of the frame.
The left-hander had to tight rope through a similar situation in the ninth. Valera, who led off the inning with a single, advanced to third with two outs on a sacrifice bunt and a ground out to second.
That brought Voit to the plate, who smoked another ground ball up the middle. Yadiel Rivera made an incredible diving stop, got to his feet and made a perfect strike to first to get Brevard out of the inning and into extras.
Bradley's counterpart, Thomas Lee (4-2, 2.93), matched him stride-by-stride. Lee, who went undrafted out of Sonoma State, threw eight scoreless innings in the no decision. The right-hander allowed three hits and struck out three, without walking a batter.
Lee wasn't the only Cardinal pitcher who dominated the Manatees' hitters. As a team, Brevard mustered just three hits on the night, all singles by Orlando Arcia, Tyrone Taylor, and Rivera. Arcia's single in the sixth was the last hit for the 'Tees as their final 16 batters were retired in a row.
The Manatees will battle the Cardinals again on Wednesday night at 6:35 p.m. in the second game of a four-game set. Brevard County will turn to right-hander Jorge Lopez (5-2, 3.51), who is looking for his fifth consecutive victory. Palm Beach will counter with fellow righty Joe Cuda (0-5, 9.10).
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