The Fort Myers Miracle opened the season series with Palm Beach Friday night in victorious fashion with a 5-1 win at Hammond Stadium.
Miracle starter Jose Berrios bounced back from a poor start on April 18 with a strong six innings. Scattering eight hits, Berrios (1-1) allowed just one run, two walks and struck out seven. Berrios lasted just two innings in his previous start and gave up seven runs to the St. Lucie Mets.
Palm Beach scratched for a run in the top of the first inning. Charlie Tilson led off with a bloop single into left field. After Berrios fanned Starlin Rodriguez, Brayvic Valera singled through the right side to put runners on the corners. Jacob Wilson earned a walk to load the bases. On an 0-1 pitch, Nick Martini picked up a RBI with a ground out to first base that brought in Tilson from third, 1-0.
Berrios rallied to fan Matt Williams swinging to end the inning with his second strikeout.
The Miracle offense went to work quickly. In the bottom of the first with two outs, Jorge Polanco launched a solo homer off Cardinals starter Thomas Lee. On the first pitch, Polanco turned on an inside fastball from Lee (1-2) and sent a line drive off the drink railing in right field. The long ball ts Polanco's second in as many nights.
Dalton Hicks broke the 1-1 tie in the bottom of the fourth inning. After a one-out infield hit by Polanco, Hicks slapped a RBI double down the left field line to push the Miracle lead to 2-1.
A three-run sixth inning by the Miracle lineup padded the lead. Polanco ignited the offense again with a lead off single. Beating out an infield hit, Polanco advanced to second on a throwing error by the shortstop Williams. A Hicks single and a walk to Adam Brett Walker loaded the bases. Mike Gonzales delivered a sacrifice fly to center to bring in Polanco, 3-1.
After Niko Goodrum flied out, Max Kepler drove a 2-0 pitch of Lee to the warning track for a two-out, two run double. Kepler finished 2-for-3.
Polanco ended the evening 3-for-4 with three runs scored and a run batted in.
Mason Melotakis relieved Berrios and fanned four in two scoreless innings. The 11 strikeouts by Berrios and Melotakis are the most by the Miracle pitching staff this season in single game. Tyler Jones faced the minimum in a scoreless ninth.
The Miracle (12-9) host the Cardinals (9-12) Saturday at Hammond Stadium at 7:05 p.m.