Tampa Rallies Early, Santos Homers in 8-3 Victory over Dunedin
TAMPA, Fla. - The Tarpons rallied for five runs in the first, RHP Blas Castaño earned his sixth-straight win, Madison Santos crushed a three-run homer in the fifth, and RHP Wellington Diaz tallied a career-high nine strikeouts over a scoreless three-plus relief innings to close out an 8-3 victory over the Dunedin Blue Jays on Saturday night at George M. Steinbrenner Field.
Tampa (72-39) ambushed Dunedin starter Dahian Santos in the first, sending all nine batters to the plate while scoring five runs on five hits. The righty bounced back by stranding a walk in a scoreless second before departing, walking two and striking out one on 45 pitches (23 strikes).
Trey Sweeney led off the first with a double to right and took third on a base hit by Jasson Dominguez before scoring on a single by Antonio Gomez. Dominguez then scored on a sacrifice fly by Cooper Bowman, and Anthony Garcia singled to right to drive home Gomez. Santos then walked and, one out and a double-steal later, Ryder Green hit a two- run single to left.
RHP Justin Kelley relieved Santos in the third and faced the minimum before Dominguez lined a leadoff double in the fifth. Bowman later reached on a fielder's choice, and both runners scored on a two-out three-run home run to right-center by Santos, giving the Tarpons an 8-0 lead.
Castaño started for Tampa and retired 14 of the first 16 batters he faced, stranding a one-out double in the first and a two-out single in the fourth. A single and an error put two on with two outs in the fifth before Castaño induced a flyout to strand two more Blue Jays (53-60).
In the sixth, Castaño issued a pair of walks and, with one out, a double to right by Addison Barger put Dunedin on the board. PK Morris followed with a two-run single to left, cutting the lead to 8-3. One out later, Diaz entered and got a strikeout to end the frame.
Castaño (W, 6-1) allowed three runs on five hits and two walks over five and two-third innings, tallying seven strikeouts on 84 pitches (63 strikes) while earning his sixth-straight victory.
Tampa was held to a pair of walks by LHP Trenton Wallace over two scoreless innings in the seventh and eighth, and RHP Connor Cooke followed with a pair of strikeouts in a perfect ninth.
Diaz (SV, 2) struck out the side in both the seventh and eighth innings, tallying seven-straight strikeouts before issuing a leadoff walk in the ninth. The 24-year-old struck out two more while stranding the runner, closing the game while tying a career-high with nine strikeouts.
Gomez (1-for-1, 3BB, RBI, R) reached base safely in all four plate appearances. Dominguez (2-for-3, 2B, BB, 2R) logged a multi-hit game. Santos (1-for-3, HR, BB, 3RBI, 2R) clubbed his first home run since joining Tampa.
The series concludes with a Sunday matinee at 12:00 p.m., with RHP Jason Parker (4-3, 4.18) scheduled to square off against RHP Naswell Paulino (6-4, 4.12). On Stay Local Sunday, when fans purchase two (2) Tarpons Sunday game tickets, they receive one (1) FREE pass to a local area attraction.
Images from this story
Madison Santos of the Tampa Tarpons
Trey Sweeney and Jasson Dominguez of the Tampa Tarpons
Fireworks over George M. Steinbrenner Field, home of the Tampa Tarpons
Madison Santos of the Tampa Tarpons
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