Three-Run First Dooms Brevard in 5-3 Loss to Jays
DUNEDIN, Fla. - Behind a three-hit night from All-Star Dwight Smith, Jr., the Dunedin Blue Jays defeated the Brevard County Manatees, 5-3 on Saturday night at Florida Auto Exchange Stadium.
Smith, Jr. got the Blue Jays (2-1 second half, 47-23 overall) offense started early as his lead-off single set the tone for a three-run first inning. Following his base hit, Dalton Pompey walked to put runners at first and second. L.B. Dantzler then ripped a single to right-center to score Smith, Jr. and put Dunedin in front, 1-0.
Smith, Jr. finished the day with a 3-for-4 performance at the plate. He tallied another single in the second, before crushing a mammoth home run - his fifth of the season - off Mike Strong in the seventh.
The Blue Jays bats were not done, however. Back-to-back singles by Kevin Patterson and Santiago Nessy pushed another run across to extend the lead to two. Dunedin tallied its final run of the first when Dantzler came across on a double play off the bat of Nick Baligod.
Brevard County (1-2, 37-32) rallied back in the top of the third, but could not come through with the big hit. After Victor Roache roped a double to start the inning, the Manatees managed to load the bases with nobody out for Nathan Orf.
On the first pitch of the at-bat, Orf hit a roller towards short that turned into a 6-4-3 double play. Roache raced home to score the Manatees' first run, but that was all they could push across. Dunedin responded immediately in the bottom of the third, as Patterson deposited a solo home run over the right field wall for his sixth long ball of the year and put the Jays up 4-1.
The 'Tees managed to put together two more rallies, but the game-tying or go-ahead hit eluded them yet again.
Brevard put runners at first and second with one out in the fifth for Yadiel Rivera. The second baseman ripped a run-scoring single to center to trim the lead to 4-2, but Orf and Orlando Arcia were retired consecutively to end the threat.
Then in the eighth inning down 5-2, Brevard County brought the tying and go-ahead runs to the plate. After a single by Orf and a walk to Tyrone Taylor, Nicky Delmonico slapped a single into the right-center field gap. Orf motored home and the lead was trimmed to 5-3.
After a walk to Michael Reed loaded the bases, Cameron Garfield crushed a ball that was ticketed for left-center. However, Dunedin shortstop Peter Mooney made a fantastic leaping grab to rob Garfield.
Dunedin starting pitcher Kendall Graveman (6-3, 3.16 ERA), who took the loss against the Manatees on Monday, earned the win on Saturday against the 'Tees. The right-hander retired the first six batters he saw and faced the minimum in five of the seven innings he pitched. Graveman finished the day with two runs allowed on four hits, one walk and four strikeouts.
After a bumpy, 37 pitch first inning, Manatees starter Jorge Lopez (7-3, 3.00) settled in nicely. The right-hander battled through five innings, but suffered his first loss since April 23. Lopez surrendered four runs on a season-high eight hits, but he did retire the last eight batters he faced, including nine of his last ten.
Rivera finished with a strong night at the plate in defeat. He recorded two hits for the second consecutive night and drove in a run. Rivera has now picked up a hit in eight of his last ten games and has a .351 batting average (13-for-37) during that span.
Southpaw Hobbs Johnson (7-6, 2.57) will look to put the Manatees back in the win column on Sunday evening as they battle the Blue Jays again, with first pitch scheduled for 5:00 p.m. Ben White (3-4, 4.98), who could not make it out of the second inning in his start against Brevard this past Tuesday, will get the ball for Dunedin.
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