The Brevard County Manatees started their first extended road trip of the season at Dunedin on Thursday, holding on for a 10-6 victory at Florida Auto Exchange Stadium. It was a big win for the Manatees, who dropped their series finale against Lakeland on Wednesday.
Jorge Ortega was money through seven innings of work for the Manatees and he got plenty of offensive support. The bullpen was not nearly as solid as the D-Jays didn’t go away quietly, scoring four in the ninth against three Brevard County relievers. Casey Medlen came on to get the final out of the game and pick up his third save.
The visiting Manatees (7-7) scored three runs in the first inning. Chris McFarland and Taylor Brennan drew consecutive walks and one out later, Victor Roache hit an RBI single to score McFarland and make it 1-0. After Garrett Cooper walked to load the bases, Rafael Neda grounded into a fielder’s choice. The out was recorded at second, but Neda was called safe at first after Matt Dean was pulled off the bag. Brennan scored on the play to make it 2-0.
Roache scored the final run when Neda took off looking for a steal of second. Roache broke on the throw and was safe at the plate. He was credited with a steal of home on the play and it was 3-0 Manatees. Dunedin pitcher Jairo Labourt ended up walking three in the inning. It was a sign of things to come.
Brennan made it a 4-0 lead when he singled home Omar Garcia in the second inning. Garcia walked earlier in the inning. Brennan rounded the bag at first and drew a throw, resulting in mistakes on the bases by the Manatees. When all was said and done, Brennan got the RBI but hit into a 7-6-4-3-2 double-play, to end the inning.
Dunedin (6-9) cut the lead in half in the fourth inning. Emilio Guerrero had an RBI single and he scored on a David Harris double, making it 4-2. It was the first of two run scoring doubles for Harris on the night. From there, Ortega would settle down, retiring nine straight, before giving up a single to Mike Reeves in the seventh. He would end up striking out the side in that, his last inning of work.
Meanwhile, the Manatees offense would continue to pile up runs, which would become crucial later in the game. McFarland made it 5-2 in the fifth when Victor Roache beat out a throw in the dirt to first base. It was scored an error.
Brevard County added three more in the top of the sixth, all with two outs. McFarland hit a two-run double to left and he scored on a Brennan single, making it 8-2. Dunedin made their second pitching change of the night, as Jimmy Cordero came in. He threw a wild pitch, but did get out of the inning.
Clint Coulter came in swinging a hot bat for the ‘Tees, but had been held in check much of the night, going 0-for-4 before his eighth inning at-bat against Blue Jays reliever Scott Silverstein. Coulter took Silverstein deep over the left-field wall, making it 10-2.
The Blue Jays made a game of it in the ninth inning, batting around and using up what had been a rested Manatees bullpen to that point. Scott Lieser, who came in after Ortega was done, gave up an RBI double to Harris in the ninth, an RBI single to Mike Reeves, making it 10-4 and a single to Christian Lopes before Manatees manager Joe Ayrault had seen enough.
Preston Gainey was called out of the bullpen, but he threw a wild pitch, walked a batter and gave up a two-run double to Roemon Fields, making it 10-6. He struck out one and walked one, before Ayrault was forced to bring in his closer, Casey Medlen, to get the final out of the game and his third save in three chances.
For more info: Brevard County @ Dunedin boxscore
Right-hander Hiram Burgos (1-1, 2.12 ERA) will take the mound for the Manatees in game two of the series on Friday. He will be opposed by righty Murphy Smith (0-0, 2.08 ERA). The two faced off back on April 19, in an extra-inning thriller won by the Manatees.