After having just given up two runs in the top of the ninth inning to fall three runs behind, the Fort Myers Miracle tried to come up with yet another comeback victory Wednesday night at Hammond Stadium. It just wasn't to be - this time.
First baseman Kennys Vargas and DH Matt Koch did their part as Vargas (2-for-4) ripped a double down the left field line and scored on an error on Koch's ground ball through the first baseman. Koch then scored on pinch-hitter Eddie Rosario's single to center. Rosario nearly hit a game-ending homer that curved foul down the left field line before the RBI hit.
Two runs scored, two runners aboard, no outs.
Miracle second baseman Stephen Wickens signs baseballs for fans Lily Moody and Bruce Gorniak of Cape Coral before Wednesday night’s game against Dunedin. Wickens figured into the 5-4 loss later when he struck out looking with the bases loaded.
Things looked pretty good for the Miracle, but a forceout and two strikeouts left them on the short end of a 5-4 score against the Dunedin Blue Jays.
A sacrifice bunt attempt by Andy Leer was too hard to Jays pitcher Blake McFarland, who fired to third base to get the lead runner Angel Morales for the first out. After Levi Michael struck out for the second out, Aderling Mejia (2-for-3) kept the inning alive by fighting off several pitches to draw a walk to load the bases.
That brought second baseman Stephen Wickens to the plate. He, too, fought off pitches to get to a full count, but watched the called third strike pass him by to end it.
The announced crowd of more than 4,600 fans, attracted by the 20th anniversary of Islands Night, saw the Miracle (28-10) drop their second straight to the Blue Jays on the current four-game series that ended Thursday night.
The Florida State League South Division first-place Miracle now head out on the road for seven straight games, three at Charlotte and four at Lakeland before returning to Hammond Stadium on May 24 to start a string of four straight home games.
The Miracle hold a four-game lead in the South Division over the St. Lucie Mets. Jupiter is nine games back in third place, followed by the Palm Beach Cardinals, Charlotte Stone Crabs and Bradenton Marauders. Their 28-10 record (.737) is the best in both divisions.
The Blue Jays hold a three-game lead in the North Division over the Brevard County Manatees and Clearwater Threshers.
The Miracle scored first for the 30th time this season when Vargas drove in Mejia in the first inning.
Dunedin tied the game 1-1 on K.C. Hobson's sixth homer of the season in the second, but Leer answered that with a home run to left of his own in the bottom of the second for a 2-1 lead.
The Jays plated two runs in the fifth to take a 3-2 lead against Miracle starter Kyle Davies, who was making a rehab start. The former seven-year Major League veteran with the Braves and Royals was making his first appearance for the Twins' organization since being signed as a free agent in February. Davies allowed three runs on seven hits with three walks in five innings.
The Blue Jays clung to that 3-2 lead into the ninth when they added two insurance runs.
With Tom Stuifbergen on the hill for the Miracle, Nick Baligod led off the frame by reaching on an error by Wickens at second. Jon Berti delivered an RBI double to make it 4-2. Stuifbergen retired the next two batters before Marcus Knecht came through with a two-out RBI single to make it 5-2.
Casey Lawrence pitched 7 2/3 innings for the Jays (22-14), holding the Miracle to two runs on seven hits. Between the first and fifth innings he retired 10 in a row and 13 of 14 batters.