Rodriguez belts grand slam in 'Tees shutout win over Yanks
VIERA, Fla. - Alfredo Rodriguez blasted the first grand slam of the season for the Brevard County Manatees, as they went on to shutout the Tampa Yankees on Monday night at Space Coast Stadium, 8-0.
Rodriguez's clout came during a big third inning for the Manatees. With the game scoreless, Nathan Orf was hit by a pitch for a Florida State League-leading 21st time and Orlando Arcia singled. Tyrone Taylor then tried to sacrifice bunt the runners over, but he raced to first base and beat out the throw from Yankees starting pitcher Miguel Sulbaran for a bunt single to load the bases.
Michael Reed took advantage of the opportunity. He blooped a single into right that scored Orf with the first run of the game. Victor Roache then waited out Sulbaran (3-4, 3.52 ERA) and worked a walk to drive home another run and give Brevard County (28-27 second half, 64-57 overall) a 2-0 lead. That brought up Rodriguez.
On a 1-0 count, Rodriguez drilled a Sulbaran offering over the left field wall to cap a six-run third inning and give the 'Tees a 6-0 lead. It was Rodriguez's first grand slam since his first career long ball on August 28, 2012 with the Helena Brewers in the Rookie Pioneer League. The grand slam was also the first by the Manatees since Nick Ramirez went deep with the bases loaded last year on June 23.
Brevard added a pair of runs in the seventh inning on a single by Cameron Garfield and a defensive miscue in the Tampa outfield. With runners on first and second, Garfield hit a line drive to right field that easily scored Taylor. Yankees centerfielder Mark Payton ranged over to cut the ball off, but ran past it and the ball rolled into the gap. The error allowed Reed to motor home from first and the 'Tees grabbed an 8-0 advantage. Garfield was credited with one RBI and a single on the two-run play.
On the mound, Tyler Wagner and Jon Huizinga combined to shut out the Yanks. Wagner (13-5, 1.60 ERA) pitched seven innings and fell one strikeout short of a season-high with eight. The right-hander gave up five hits and walked a pair to earn his second straight win and his fourth victory in five starts.
Huizinga followed Wagner and shut the door in his first appearance in affiliated professional baseball since 2003. The 34-year old, who had spent the previous nine seasons pitching in various independent leagues, hurled two scoreless innings. Huizinga gave up two hits, but rolled a double play ball to get out of the eighth and induced another twin-killing for the first two outs of the ninth. Finally, the right-hander put the game away with another groundout to seal the win for Brevard County.
Sulbaran took the loss for Tampa (30-27, 63-64). The left-hander gave up six of Brevard County's runs over three innings. Sulbaran surrendered six hits, walked two and struck out two, as he fell to the 'Tees for the second time.
Brevard County has now won each of its last three games and will look to extend that winning streak on Tuesday night against Tampa. First pitch at Space Coast Stadium is scheduled for 6:35 p.m. Hobbs Johnson (11-8, 3.21 ERA) will get the ball for the Manatees against Brady Lail (1-1, 6.05 ERA).
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