Taylor's Walk-Off Single Gives 'Tees 2-1 Victory
VIERA, Fla. - In improbable fashion, the Brevard County Manatees walked-off the Tampa Yankees, 2-1 on a game-winning single by Tyrone Taylor on Tuesday night at Space Coast Stadium.
With Brevard County (29-27 second half, 65-57 overall) trailing 1-0 with one out in the bottom of the ninth, Brandon Macias lined a single into right field off Yankees reliever Chris Smith.
On an 0-2 pitch, Nathan Orf hit a double play ground ball to short. Tampa shortstop Cito Culver, however, let the ball roll right between his legs and into left field.
It was the second error of the game for Culver and all of a sudden the Manatees had the go-ahead and tying runs on base.
Tampa (30-28, 63-65) would have another opportunity to close out the game, but could not do so. Orlando Arcia hit a ground ball back to the mound and Smith threw on to second to get the force.
The twin killing could not be turned, as Orf utilized a perfect take out slide into the bag. As a result, Culver was unable to make the relay throw to first to try and complete the game-ending double play.
With runners at the corners and two down, Taylor stepped in. Down to his final strike, the Brewers former second-round pick hit a flare off the end of the bat into shallow center field.
Second baseman Anderson Feliz, who came in for Angelo Gumbs in the fifth inning, ranged into the outfield and dove head-first to try and make the play. After initially catching the ball, the ball squirted out of his glove as Feliz crashed onto the grass.
Macias scored easily from third to the tie game. Arcia, who was running on the pitch, never let up and hustled all the way from first to slide in to score the game-winning run.
Taylor was credited with a two-run single and the Manatees picked up their third walk-off victory of 2014. It was the first game-ending base-hit by Brevard County since Jose Sermo delivered home run to defeat St. Lucie on July 18.
Smith took the loss, his first with Tampa and his second overall in 2014. Both runs he allowed were unearned due to the error by Culver.
Before Taylor's heroics, the story of the night was the performance by the Yankees' pitching staff. Led by starter Brady Lail (1-1, 4.62), Tampa carried a no-hitter into the eighth inning. With one out, Alfredo Rodriguez broke up the no-hit bid with a single to right-center off reliever Kyle Haynes.
Lail, who did not allow a hit, went six innings and yielded just three baserunners on two walks and an error. The right-hander punched out three Manatees' hitters in his best start since being transferred to the Florida State League.
Not to be overlooked, Brevard County starter Hobbs Johnson (11-8, 3.09) was dominant in his own right. After he surrendered a RBI single to Eric Jagielo in the first, the southpaw put the clamps down and did not allow a run for the rest of the night.
Johnson tied a career-high with eight innings pitched and allowed four hits and one walk. The former North Carolina Tar Heel struck out seven, as he retired 14 of the final 15 batters he faced.
The Manatees bullpen was stellar yet again. Martin Viramontes collected his first win of the season after pitching a perfect ninth inning. Dating back to August 7 in Tampa, Brevard County's bullpen has not allowed a run in its last 16.2 innings.
In a case of bizarre symmetry, tonight's finish was eerily similar to game two of a doubleheader in Tampa on August 6. Manatees starter Mike Strong, much like Lail tonight, was five outs away from completing a no-hitter, before it was broken up on a single.
Both games ended in walk-offs, as well. That night, Aaron Judge got the game-winner in extras at George M. Steinbrenner Field.
The four-game series will head to Tampa tomorrow; with first pitch scheduled for 7 p.m. Strong (2-1, 2.33) will look to follow up his complete game victory against Daytona last Thursday when he squares off with fellow lefty Caleb Smith (3-1, 5.33).
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