The Tampa Yankees began the series against the Clearwater Threshers on Tuesday evening having won five straight and their eyes set on a trip to the postseason. With LHP Caleb Smith (ERA 3.72) on the mound and an offensive surge led by Mark Payton, the T-Yanks took their sixth straight defeating the Threshers 4-1.
The Yanks took an early 2-0 lead in the bottom of the second when Mike Ford started the inning with a double on a fly ball to left. Ford later scored off a RBI single by Trent Garrison and Mark Payton then hit a RBI single of his own sending Garrison home.
Smith pitched six shutout innings for the T-Yanks allowing just 3 hits, 1 walk and struck out five batters. LHP Ramon Benjamin (ERA 3.60) took the seventh with just one hit allowed and then Chris Smith (ERA 2.14) pitched a no hit eighth.
After Clearwater got on the board in the top of the seventh, Ericson Leonora helped tacked on another with a solo homerun on a fly ball to left’ his second of the year. In the bottom of the eighth, Aaron Judge brought home Tampa’s fourth run after Garrison grounded into a double play.
Cesar Vargas earned his tenth save of the year by striking out the side in the ninth; Smith earned the victory (5-1).
The Tampa Yankees will now take on the Clearwater Threshers on Wednesday night at 7:00pm at George M. Steinbrenner Field with Brett Gerritse (ERA 4.12, 5-7) on the mound for the Yanks.
The T-Yanks are still in the playoff hunt just two games behind the division leader Daytona Cubs.