JUPITER - The Fort Myers Miracle fended off a late rally from the Palm Beach Cardinals and held on for a 7-5 win Sunday evening.
The Miracle built a 7-0 lead in the first five innings. In the first, Aderling Mejia, Stephen Wickens and Jhon Goncalves singled off Cardinals starter Kurt Heyer to load the bases with nobody out. Kennys Vargas worked a full count and walked to push in a run an RBI. After Matt Koch lined into a double play, Mike Kvasnicka picked up a two-out base hit up the middle to plate two and give the Miracle a 3-0 lead.
Goncalves added a two-out single in the second to put the Miracle up by four. In the fifth, Koch and Kvasnicka hit back-to-back homers to push the advantage to 7-0. Koch's shot, with a runner on third, cleared the left field fence on a 1-1 pitch from Heyer. The home run was Koch's fifth of the season.
Cardinal manager Johnny Rodriguez went to the bullpen and brought in left-hander Danny Miranda. On a 1-0 pitch from Miranda, Kvasnicka launched one to deep left field marking the second time this season the Miracle have gone back-to-back. Kvasnicka has now homered on consecutive nights and has seven RBI in the last two games.
The Cardinals began to chip away at the Miracle lead with a run in each of the fifth, sixth and eighth innings. With the Miracle lead at 7-3, the Cardinals loaded the bases with no outs on Miracle reliever Corey Williams in the ninth. Miracle manager Doug Mientkiewicz brought in Zack Jones.
Jones threw a wild pitch that allowed a runs to score, but struck out two while giving up a sacrifice fly to end the game. The save was Jones' ninth of the season.
Miracle starter Manuel Soliman went 5 2/3 innings and allowed two runs on eight hits. Soliman (1-1) walked two and struck out three. Heyer (1-2) pitched 4 2/3 innings and allowed six runs on six hits.
The Miracle (48-23, 3-1) play game two of three against the Cardinals (30-42, 1-3) Monday afternoon.