TAMPA, Fla. – A ninth-inning push by the Tampa Yankees (8-13) ended one run shy of tying the game as the Clearwater Threshers (15-6) held on to win, 3-2, and complete a sweep on Thursday night at George M. Steinbrenner Field.
Entering the bottom of the ninth, trailing by two, Kyle Holder lined a leadoff single into left. One out later, pinch-hitter Chris Gittens legged out an infield hit, placing runners on the corners. Trey Amburgey hit a ball into deep left and Clearwater left fielder Cornelius Randolph made the catch a foot shy of the wall. Holder tagged and scored, but Jeff Hendrix flew out to center, ending the game.
Holder paced the offense with his first three-hit night of the season as the T-Yanks outhit the Threshers, 9-7. After starting the season 6-for-64, the 22-year-old raised his batting average 38 points to .132.
Ian Clarkin (L, 2-2) tossed a season-high seven innings in his third quality start of the season. The southpaw labored the loss after holding Clearwater to three earned runs on seven hits, walking one while striking out four and throwing 69 of 101 pitches for strikes.
Tampa claimed an early lead in the first inning when Jorge Mateo reached on an infield single, stole second and scored on Holder’s first hit of the contest. Mateo now leads the Florida State League with 12 stolen bases.
Clearwater added a run in the fifth with the help of a wild pitch. Herlis Rodriguez lined a two-out single into right. As Rodriguez stole second, Randolph reached on a strikeout-wild pitch, allowing Rodriguez to reach third. Tomscha followed with an RBI single, giving the Threshers a 3-1 lead.
After allowing a leadoff single in the sixth, Clarkin finished strong by retiring the final six batters he faced. RHP Colten Brewer entered in the eighth and faced the minimum in two scoreless frames, striking out three.
Franklyn Kilome (W, 2-1) made a quality start and earned the win for Clearwater. The right-hander allowed one earned run on seven hits in seven innings, striking out five without issuing a walk and throwing 51 of 71 pitches for strikes.
LHP Tyler Gilbert (SV, 1) earned his first career save after holding the Yankees to one run on two hits while striking out one and leaving the tying run on base in the ninth.
Holder (3-for-5, RBI, R) had the lone multi-hit game for Tampa. Amburgey (0-for-3, SF, RBI) tallied his team-leading 10th RBI.
Up next, the T-Yanks begin a three-game series with the Daytona Tortugas at home on Friday at 7:00 p.m. RHP Jesus Reyes (2-0, 4.41 ERA) is scheduled to start for Daytona, with the Tampa starter TBA. On Wing Deal Fridays, fans can get all-you-can-eat chicken wings from 6:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. for $10.