Brevard downed by Cards after two rain delays
VIERA, Fla. - In a game that began roughly an hour after the scheduled start time due to rain and was delayed again in the second inning, the Brevard County Manatees lost to the Palm Beach Cardinals, 13-7 on Friday night at Space Coast Stadium.
Once the game got underway, the Cardinals (23-11 second half, 59-44 overall) jumped on Manatees starting pitcher Jorge Lopez. Palm Beach began the contest with a five-run first inning that included three extra-base hits and a single.
David Popkins delivered the first blow of the onslaught with the lone single of the opening frame. His knock scored Nick Martini with the game's first run and Anthony Garcia followed with an RBI double to give the Cards a 2-0 lead. Mason Katz then capped the banner inning for Palm Beach with a three-run home run to put the visitors up by five runs before the 'Tees could grab their bats.
Brevard (16-14, 52-44) pushed a couple of runs across in the first to soften the blow. Nathan Orf worked his way on with a leadoff walk and Tyrone Taylor brought him home two batters later with an RBI single. Taylor then stole second and moved to third when Michael Reed reached on an error. That set up a run-scoring single by Cameron Garfield to cut the Manatees' deficit to 5-2.
Rain halted play with one out and nobody on in the top of the second, but the Cardinals picked up where they left off when the ballgame resumed. Martini worked a walk and Bruce Caldwell kept the inning alive two batters later with a two-out single.
The next three Cardinals hitters then proceeded to drive in runs. Luke Voit and David Popkins roped back-to-back RBI doubles and Anthony Garcia added a tally with a single. That rally put the Manatees down by seven runs after just 1.5 innings, 9-2.
The home side got one run back in the bottom of the inning on an RBI single by Taylor, but Palm Beach got right back at it with the bats in the third and fourth against the Manatees' bullpen. Martin Viramontes relieved Lopez in the third and Greg Miclat greeted him by slamming a leadoff triple. Miclat later scored on a wild pitch and Voit hit a solo homer in the fourth to give Palm Beach an 11-3 lead.
Brevard County showed some life in the seventh inning and took a shot at coming back. After the Cards scratched across an insurance run on a sacrifice fly in the top of the inning, the 'Tees climbed back within five runs in the bottom half.
Cardinals starter Joe Cuda worked into the seventh with a 12-3 lead, but the 'Tees promptly struck with four straight hits. Orf began the rally by rolling an infield single toward third and Orlando Arcia came up right behind him with a ground rule double.
After Arcia's drive cleared the left field wall on a bounce to put a pair in scoring position, Taylor cleared that wall on a fly. Taylor's three-run homer was his sixth of the season and cut Brevard's deficit to 12-6.
Reed continued the Manatees' rally right after the big fly. He ripped a double and moved to third on a ground out. With only one out in the inning, Roache lifted a sacrifice fly to right field to score Reed. The four-run inning for Brevard County trimmed Palm Beach's lead to 12-7.
The Cardinals, however, put the game away in the ninth. In the top half, Martini stroked a two-out double against reliever Mark Williams. Martini moved up to third on a wild pitch and Ildemaro Vargas notched the Cardinals' final tally with an RBI single that brought Martini home. Brevard County then went down 1-2-3 in the bottom of the ninth against righty reliever Chris Perry.
Cuda (7-7, 6.20 ERA) was not spectacular, but his outing was good enough to earn a victory on this night. The starter gave up seven runs on 11 hits over 6.2 innings. Cuda struck out four and walked one in the winning performance.
Lopez (8-6, 4.29 ERA) took the loss after he gave up a career-high nine runs over the first two innings. The Manatees' starter only lasted those two frames, but tied a season-high with eight hits allowed. Lopez struck out two and walked two in the defeat.
Despite the loss, Taylor turned in one of his best offensive days of the season. Taylor reached a new season-high and tied a career-high with five RBI in a 3-for-5 night that included his first home run since June 27.
Orf was also solid at the dish. He reached base safely in each of his five plate appearances with three singles, a walk and his Florida State League-leading 17th hit-by-pitch of the season. Orf also scored a pair of runs.
Between the delay at the start of the ballgame and the rain interruption in the second inning, the Manatees and Cardinals officially waited through 1:46 minutes of delays. The length of Friday's delays totaled just one our less than the time it took to play the ballgame, as the final time of game clocked in at 2:46.
Brevard County will try to rebound from the loss on Saturday night at Space Coast Stadium, as the 'Tees again host the Cardinals. Austin Ross (7-3, 3.38 ERA) is the scheduled starter for the Manatees against Nick Petree (5-3, 1.93 ERA). First pitch will be at 6:35 p.m.
For more information on the Brevard County Manatees, call (321) 633-9200 or go online to ManateesBaseball.com. Also, don't forget to like the Manatees on Facebook and follow the Manatees both on Twitter and Instagram.
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