Stone Crabs Strike Late as Tarpons Drop Third-Straight
TAMPA, Fla.- The Tampa Tarpons took a 2-0 lead into the seventh, but the Charlotte Stone Crabs scored six late runs and held on for a 6-4 on Friday night at George M. Steinbrenner Field. Tampa (24-24, 52-62) has now dropped three-straight games after winning five in a row.
RHP Luis Gil made the start and worked around a leadoff walk thanks to catcher Donny Sands throwing out Izzy Wilson attempting to steal third.
Wilkerman Garcia reached on an error to begin the home half of the first and took third on a base hit to right by Oswaldo Cabrera before scoring on a sacrifice fly by Estevan Florial.
Gil stranded a two-out single in the second and a leadoff walk in the third before Charlotte (35-15, 70-46) loaded the bases with a single and a pair of two-out walks in the fourth. Gil struck out Zacrey Law to strand the trio, maintaining a 1-0 lead for Tampa.
RHP Drew Strotman stranded a two-out single by Leonardo Molina in the second and worked around a leadoff single by Cabrera in the third before the Tarpons doubled their lead in the fourth.
Diego Castillo lined a leadoff single but was thrown out stretching for third on a base hit by Steven Sensley. After a single by Sands, a wild pitch put runners at second and third. Kyle Gray was intentionally walked before Molina reached on a fielder's choice, scoring Sensley.
Strotman allowed two runs (one earned) on six hits in three and two-third innings, walking two while striking out three on 58 pitches (37 strikes) in his second start with the Stone Crabs.
LHP Edgar Barclay made his Tarpons debut, entering in relief in the fifth. After issuing a leadoff walk, Barclay retired the next six batters he faced, tallying four strikeouts before finding trouble in the seventh.
Connor Hollis walked and took second on a wild pitch. One out later, a base hit by Jermaine Palacios put runners on the corners, and a second wild pitch scored Hollis. Palacios took third on a groundout and, after walking Wander Franco, Barclay was replaced by RHP Kyle Zurak.
Zurak struck out Ronaldo Hernandez on three pitches to end the frame, holding the 2-1 lead. In the eighth, Kaleo Johnson smashed a leadoff double to center. Zurak got a strikeout and a groundout before issuing back-to-back two-out walks, loading the bases.
Palacios then lined a go-ahead two-run single into right, putting the Stone Crabs ahead, 3-2. Another run scored as Wilson reached on a fielding error by Garcia at shortstop, and Palacios later crossed the plate on a wild pitch before a groundout by Franco ended the inning.
RHP Justin Marsden (W, 1-3) relieved Strotman with two outs in the fourth and retired eight-of-nine batters faced while facing the minimum over three and a third innings.
Moises Gomez drilled a two-out solo homer off the batter's eye against RHP Matt Wivinis in the ninth, giving Charlotte a four-run lead, 6-2.
RHP Jake Labosky fired a 1-2-3 eighth inning before returning for ninth. Castillo singled and, two outs later, scored on a double by Gray. Molina followed with a single, scoring Gray and bringing the tying run to the plate. Labosky (SV, 5) got Garcia to groundout to end the game.
Sands (1-for-4) extended his hitting streak to six games and is hitting .333 (11-for-33) over his last 10 games. Molina (2-for-4, 2RBI, SB, CS) is batting .362 (17-for-47) with 12RBI over his last 14 games. Castillo (2-for-3, BB, R) is batting .343 (12-for-35) over his last nine games.
The series continues on Saturday at 6:30 p.m., with RHP Alexander Vizcaino (1-0, 1.50) slated to face RHP Tommy Romero (9-4, 1.85). Live play-by-play of the action will be available on the Tampa Tarpons Baseball Network.
On Strikeout Saturday, strikeouts by Tampa pitchers will determine the special of the day. When a Tarpons pitcher strikes out a batter, a select special will be activated for the night (each special lasts 60 minutes). In addition, fans can collect player autographs on the concourse from 5:40-6:00 p.m.
Images from this story
Leonardo Molina of the Tampa Tarpons
Wilkerman Garcia received congratulations in the Tampa Tarpons dugout
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