TAMPA, FL - The only thing hotter than the Florida sun these days is the bat being swung bat Charleston's J.R. Murphy. Despite sitting on the bench for most of the game, he helped the RiverDogs tie Toronto 5-5 on Monday while Tampa edged the Blue Jays 4-3 on the other field.
J.R. Murphy, who sat for most of the game on Monday after going 3-4 with a double and a home run on Sunday, stepped to the plate in the bottom of the ninth inning with the RiverDogs trailing 5-4 and tied the game with a missile solo home run over the left field fence.
Jose Ramirez continued to put up zeros on the other field, tossing two more scoreless innings for the Tampa Yankees. He did give up a hit [a double] but he got two more strikeouts, one coming via the slider.
Tampa's Starting Lineup: Carmen Angelini, Zoilo Almonte, Rob Lyerly, Kyle Higashioka, Henry Pena, Angelo Gumbs, Luke Murton, and Kelvin Duran.
Charleston's Starting Lineup: Ben Gamel, Mason Williams, Rob Segedin, Gary Sanchez, Reymond Nunez, Ramon Flores, Kelvin De Leon, Tyler Austin, Jake Anderson, and Jose Rosario.
Tyler Austin, playing third base for Charleston, was hitting the ball hard in his final three at-bats. After grounding out to the pitcher in his first plate appearance, he lined out sharply to left field in his second at-bat. He then laced a single to right field in his third at-bat [and later scored a run] before having an RBI single in his final plate appearance.
Angelo Gumbs went 1-2 with a strikeout but he made the most of his limited at-bats. He scorched a two-run double down the left field line in his first at-bat and promptly stole third base a couple of pitches later.
Mikey O'Brien started the game for Charleston and was effective. He wound up striking out a pair of batters in his two scoreless innings of work, but he had to pitch his way out of danger in his second inning after walking a batter, giving up a double, and throwing a wild pitch. His curveball was filthy though and that helped him get out of trouble.
Mason Williams went 2-3 on the day and his two hits were quite different. He laid down a perfectly placed bunt down the third base line for a hit in his first at-bat and later singled sharply to centerfield in his second at-bat. He grounded out in his third and final plate appearance.
Tommy Kahnle retired all five batters he faced in order and he struck out three of them along the way. He struggled with his slider, however, but his 95 mph heater was just too much for the opposing batters and that helped him overcome his inconsistent slider.
Kelvin De Leon has been making a lot more contact this Spring. He went 3-4 with three singles [two to left field, one to right] and grounded out sharply for his one out. He had one particular play in the field that is pretty representative of his defensive game, however. He dropped a routine fly ball in right field but quickly picked the ball up and gunned down a runner at second base that only went halfway from first on the play.
Carmen Angelini [1-4, SB, K], Zoilo Almonte [2-4, RBI, K], and Yeicok Calderon [1-1] were the only other Tampa minor league batters to collect hits in their victory.
Despite striking out three batters in two innings, Evan Rutckyj really struggled with his command. He walked three, hit a batter, and gave up four runs [all in his second inning of work]. He was overpowering though when he was throwing strikes.
Gary Sanchez [1-3, RBI, K], Ramon Flores [1-3, BB, run], and Jake Anderson [1-2, K] all had hits for Charleston.
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