Mejia Clutch in 8-6 Extra Inning Win over Tampa
TAMPA, Fla. - Aderling Mejia reached base five times and delivered the game-winning RBI single in the top of the eleventh inning to steer the Fort Myers Miracle to a 8-6 win over the Tampa Yankees on Saturday night at Steinbrenner Field.
Niko Goodrum got the Miracle rally started in the eleventh with a single through the left side off Yankees reliever Ramon Benjamin. Mike Gonzales was then struck by a pitch. Tyler Grimes laid down a perfect sacrifice bunt down the third base line to put runners at second and third. Mejia stepped up and smoked a 2-2 pitch from Benjamin (0-2) into center field to score Mejia and put the Miracle up 7-6. After Byron Buxton struck out, Levi Michael reached on a walk and Travis Harrison added an insurance run with a base hit up the middle. Gonzales scored, but Mejia was called out at home plate to end the inning.
After pitching a perfect eighth inning, Brian Gilbert remained in the game in the ninth and put the Yankees down in order. Gilbert (2-3) recorded three strikeouts over two innings to pick up the win.
In a game of twists and turns, Tampa jumped out to an early 3-0 lead in the first inning against Miracle starter Matt Tomshaw. With one out, Aaron Judge reached on a single into left. Greg Bird then earned a walk. With two on, Dante Bichette, Jr. lifted a 3-1 pitch off the wall in the right field corner to score Judge, 1-0. Eric Jagielo followed by raking a base hit to right and driving in two more runs.
Gonzales ignited the Miracle offense in the top of the third. On a 1-0 pitch from Tampa starter Miguel Sulbaran, Gonzales sent a fly ball that cleared the wall in right field for a solo homer. Gonzales' seventh of the season the home run extended his team-best hitting streak to 17 games. Sulbaran retired Grimes on a ground out to third, but issued a walk to Mejia. With Buxton at the plate, Mejia swiped second base. Buxton then launched a ground rule double into left center and Mejia crossed home to cut the Tampa lead to 3-2.
The Yankees got a run back in the third inning. Tomshaw retired the first two hitters, but surrendered a single to Jagielo. Angelo Gumbs brought Jagielo in with a double to the left center gape to put Tampa up 4-2.
In the top of the fourth, the Miracle sent eight batters to the plate and scored four runs on four hits. Dalton Hicks led off with a single bounced up the middle. Adam Brett Walker reached on a base on balls and Goodrum dropped a single into left to load the bases. Gonzales drew the Miracle to a one-run deficit with a sacrifice fly to left field,4-3.
Mejia then worked his magic to tie the game. On a 2-1 pitch from Sulbaran, Mejia poked a base hit into center to plate Walker tie the game. Two pitches later, Buxton put the Miracle ahead with a two-run single down the left field line, 6-4.
Buxton finished the game 2-for-6 with two doubles and two RBI. Mejia was 2-for-2 with two runs batted in, two scored, three walks and two stolen bases.
Fort Myers held a two-run advantage until the bottom of the ninth. With one out, Wes Wilson singled up the middle off Miracle reliever Tyler Jones. Jose Rosario reached on a walk. Then, on a 2-2 pitch, Judge lifted a fly ball into the corner in right that Walker dropped to allow a run to score. Jones then intentionally walked Bird to load the bases.
Down a run, Bichette, Jr. hit a rocket into center field that Buxton tracked down. Rosario trotted home on a sacrifice fly to tie the game and force extra innings.
With the win, the Miracle are now 3-7 in extra inning games and halted the Yankees seven-game winning streak.
Fort Myers (64-39, 23-11) wrap up the season series with Tampa (52-53, 19-16) on Sunday afternoon at 1 p.m. Fans can catch the play-by-play call with the 'Voice of the Miracle' Brice Zimmerman beginning with the Head Quarters pregame show at 12:35 p.m.
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