Despite a four-run ninth inning, the Fort Myers Miracle lost 9-4 to the Palm Beach Cardinals Saturday night at Hammond Stadium.
Cardinals starter Cory Jones controlled the Miracle bats through six shutout innings, surrendering only two hits and striking out six. Jones (1-0) pocketed the win.
The Cardinals posted two runs in the top of the third off starter David Hurlbut. Palm Beach loaded the bases and a RBI groundout by Breyvic Valera pushed Jesus Montero across the plate. Then Jacob Wilson singled home Charlie Tilson to put Palm Beach up 2-0.
Hurlbut (1-1) took the loss after tossing five innings and yielding two runs off six hits.
Palm Beach sent 11 batters to the plate in the sixth and notched six runs off reliever Tim Shibuya. Montero kicked off the scoring with an RBI single to plate Anthony Garcia. Four more crossed the plate, then Garcia came up to bat for the second time in the inning and rounded out the assault with a RBI base hit to raise the Cardinal lead to 8-0.
The Cardinals squeezed one more in the top of the ninth off Steven Gruver with a sacrifice fly from Montero.
The Miracle offense came alive with four runs in the ninth off Cardinals reliever Samuel Tuivailala. Aderling Mejia and Jorge Polanco began the frame with back-to-back singles. Dalton Hicks then slapped a two-RBI double to center. Adam Brett Walker let loose a two-run homer to finalize the 9-4 score. The home run was Walker's fifth of the season and first in 11 games.
Walker completed the night 2-for-4 and now leads the squad with 16 RBI.
Fort Myers and Palm Beach square off in the series rubber match Sunday at Hammond Stadium.