Fort Myers 1 at Dunedin 0
Record 38 - 30
W: J. Manship (8-5, 3.15); L: A. Martin (5-3, 2.56); SV: J. Martinez (1)
HR: FTM: E. Lis (17).
E: Gardenhire (12, throw).
Pitching duels are not as much fun to listen to as they are to watch, but Saturday's game turned out to be a classic. Jeff Manship rebounded from a tough outing in his last start blank the Blue Jays through 5.1 innings, allowing 5 hits, walking 2 and striking out 3.
The closest Dunedin got was in the bottom of the 4th, when 2 singles and a force out found Kyle Phillips at 3rd base with only 1 out, but Manship got Brian Jeroloman to strike out and Chris Gutierrez to fly out to get out of the jam.
Adrian Martin was nearly as good, giving up 5 hits and 1 walk with 5 strike out in 7 innings. The sole blemish in his performance came in the top of the fourth when Erik Lis hit is 17th home run of the year, his second in Knology Park, which is slightly (325 feet) smaller than Hammond Stadium.
Danny Powers worked 1.2 innings, striking out 2 and walking 1, while J.P. Martinez finished off the game for the Miracle, allowing 1 hit and 1 walk while striking out 2.
The Jays threatened in the 9th with Jays having runners at first and second with one out. Miracle 3rd baseman Toby Gardenhire snagged a bouncing ball from Anthony Hatch for a force out at 3rd, but Gardenhire's throw to first went into right field, where it was scooped up by Edward Ovalle and fired back to the plate in time for Korey Feiner to nab Carlo Cota at the plate.
Brandon League and Chris Blackwell finished up for the Jays, neither allowing a Miracle hit, although issuing 1 walk each.
Dunedin's loss, combined with Clearwater's sweep of a double header in Lakeland last night, gave the 2nd Half West Division Championship to the Threshers, who will take on the Reds in the first round of the FSL playoffs which begin on Tuesday.
Fort Myers AAA and AA affiliates in Rochester and New Britain also saw their playoff hopes end last night. The Red Wings lost to the Buffalo Bisons which leads them by a game in the wild card slot and both teams still trail Richmond.
Despite a win by former Miracle Angel Garcia in New Britain, the Rock Cats were mathematically eliminated from the playoffs last night. Fort Myers alumni Oswaldo Sosa retired the first nine of ten batters he faced, including the first six-straight, but then got into trouble in the fourth. Sosa exited after the inning, surrendering four runs on three walks and three hits. He struck out five. Garcia (1-0) tossed 2 2/3 innings in relief (2 H, 1 ER, 3 K) to pick up his first Double-A win.
The Miracle and the Blue Jays play their last game of the season at 1:00 Sunday at Knology Park. Kyle Waldrop (6-5, 3.36) will take the start against righty Brandon Magee (9-7, 3.84) for Dunedin.
Early Winter For Perkins: Twins southpaw Glen Perkins, 24, is done for the season after struggling to rehabilitate a shoulder strain with the Rock Cats. He was 0-2 with an 11.05 ERA in 71/3 innings over three outings. He gave up five home runs among 11 hits. Perkins had a 3.80 ERA in 12 relief appearances with the Twins before injuring the shoulder in May.
Morales in batting race: Former Miracle catcher Jose Morales remains in the thick of things for the International League batting title. Morales entered Saturday just two points behind leader Ben Francisco of Buffalo, who was promoted to the Cleveland Indians on Friday night. Francisco finishes at .318 in 95 games. Rochester's last batting champion was Miracle alumni Jason Kubel, who hit .343 in 2004.
Slowey on top: Last season's ace pitcher Kevin Slowey has clinched the International League's ERA title with a 1.89 mark. That's the lowest by an IL ERA champion since Tidewater's David West finished at 1.80 in 1988. Slowey still has not been recalled by the Minnesota Twins, though he is expected to start Tuesday against Cleveland. Slowey will likely lose his bid for the MSP Award. Tampa's Ian Kennedy is the current leader with a 1.29 ERA.
Tobyism: Toby Gardenhire has played in every game of the current Miracle four game win streak. Makes you wonder where the team would be if he'd actually been in the line up when the team still had a shot at making the playoffs.
How distracting: Outfielder Eli Tintor, from Hibbing, was sent home recently from Class A Beloit for what Twins director of minor leagues Jim Rantz called "a distraction." He used the same word to describe why Class A Fort Myers third baseman Danny Valencia was benched in recent games. LEN3