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Manatees Split Doubleheader with Tampa

August 7, 2014 - Florida State League (FSL) - Brevard County Manatees News Release

TAMPA, Fla. - The Brevard County Manatees tallied all the runs they needed in the first two innings, as they knocked off the Tampa Yankees, 6-5 in game one of Wednesday's doubleheader at George M. Steinbrenner Field.

After grabbing the lead in the first on a two-base error and an RBI groundout by Tyrone Taylor, the Manatees (21-21 second half, 57-51 overall) exploded against Tampa starter Miguel Sulbaran (2-3, 3.05 ERA) in the second.

With one out, Parker Berberet kick started the onslaught with a ground-rule double that ended up in the Yankees' (22-23, 55-60) bullpen down the right field line. His extra-base hit started a series of three straight doubles by Manatees' hitters.

Garrett Cooper roped a run-scoring double to center, while Brandon Macias followed by doing the same to left-center. Two runs were able to come across to give the Manatees a 3-0 edge.

However, the rally was not over. Nathan Orf poked a single into center field to chase home Macias and extend the lead to four.

After a fly out and an infield single by Taylor, the Manatees got some help courtesy of the Yankees' defense. After a passed ball advanced both runners to second and third, Michael Reed hit a ground ball to short that should have ended the inning. However, Cito Culver's throw was low and first baseman Matt Snyder could not pick it.

Orf and Taylor, who hustled all the way, came home to score on the throwing error by Culver. That was one of four defensive miscues made by Tampa in the first three frames and the 'Tees had a 6-0 lead.

With the score still 6-0, the rain, which was not on the radar, began to fall heavily. With a runner at first, two outs and a 0-2 count on Macias, the umpiring crew called for the tarp to be placed on the field.

The game was delayed for 54 minutes due to the inclement weather and caused both starters to be removed early.

Sulbaran, who took his third loss of the year, went just 2.2 innings and allowed six runs - three earned - for the third consecutive outing. He yielded five hits and struck out one without walking a batter.

The rain put a big damper on Taylor Williams' (0-0, 0.00) Florida State League debut. After being transferred from Class-A Wisconsin a day prior, the right-hander was stellar in his two innings of work. Williams did not allow a single baserunner and struck out three in his rain-shortened outing.

Stephen Peterson came out of the bullpen after the delay and gave the Manatees some much needed length. The left-hander threw three straight scoreless frames before the Yankees' bats came alive in the sixth.

With one out and a runner on first, Peterson left a pitch over the plate to Culver. The former first-round pick did not miss it, as he crushed the ball over the left field wall and off an advertisement to the left of the jumbotron for a two-run home run. The blast was Culver's third of the year and it trimmed the 'Tees lead to 5-2.

In the seventh, Tampa threatened again. Peterson, now into his fifth inning of work, allowed a lead-off single and then a two-out walk, which ended his night.

After making his Manatees debut on Monday night, Tyler Spurlin came on to try and close out the game. On a full count, Anderson Feliz cranked a ball over the wall in right-center for a three-run homer. The shot was his second of the season and all of a sudden the Manatees' lead was down to one.

Spurlin would bend, but not break, as he struck out the next batter - Mark Payton - to end the ball game. Despite only recording one out, the side-arming right-hander recorded his first save in the FSL.

Even though he allowed four runs, Peterson was a savior for the Manatees bullpen. The left-hander set a career-high in innings pitched - 4.2 - and strikeouts - six - in his third victory of the season.

With the win, the 'Tees snapped a three-game losing streak and pulled a half-game ahead of Tampa for second place in the FSL North Division.

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