The Charlotte Stone Crabs showed why they are leading the Florida State League standings on Tuesday, as they won the lid lifter of a four-game series against the Brevard County Manatees, 7-3 at Space Coast Stadium.
It was an offensive kind of night on both sides, as each team pounded out 10 hits. Chris McFarland, who had a seven game hit streak ended in Fort Myers on Sunday, got going again Tuesday with a 2-for-4 night. Jose Pena and Angel Ortega each finished 2-for-4.
Most of that damage came after Charlotte starter Chris Kirsch (3-2) exited the game. He was tough on the Manatees, going six innings, giving up six hits and striking out five. On the other side, Wei-Chung Wang (2-2) struggled for much of the night, giving up three runs in the third and fourth innings. It was a deficit the Manatees would not be able to dig out of.
Wang’s troubles started in the third when Pat Blair led off with a double. A single by Yoel Araujo brought Blair home, giving the visitors a 1-0 lead. Dayron Varona got the Stone Crabs third straight hit of the inning when he singled. Kean Wong laid down a bunt and was safe at first after Wang had trouble picking the ball up coming off the mound. The end result was a bases loaded situation, with nobody out for Wang.
Willy Adames made Wang pay for that error immediately when he lined a two-run single to center, making it 3-0. Wong tried to advance to third on the play, but was gunned down. Wang was able to retire the next two and end the inning, but the damage was done.
Charlotte (31-14) put the game away in the fourth, with their second consecutive three-run inning. Armando Araiza and Blair hit back-to-back one out singles and they came home one out later, on a Varona two-run triple. Wong followed with an RBI single and just like that, it was 6-0. They added the extra point in the seventh inning, when Jake Bauers hit his fifth home run of the year off of Stephen Peterson, who relieved Wang in the sixth.
The Manatees (18-26) did all their damage in the bottom of the seventh, against Stone Crabs reliever Jordan Harrison. Pena singled and moved to second on a ground out by Cam Garfield. Ortega followed with a single, putting runners at first and third. Omar Garcia’s RBI single made it 7-1 and a balk with McFarland at the plate scored Ortega to make it 7-2. McFarland shaved another run off the lead with a single, scoring Garcia. That made it 7-3, but Brevard County would get no closer.
Preston Gainey did a good job in relief of Peterson, pitching the final two innings. He gave up one hit, walked one and struck out one. He dropped his earned run average to 0.46.
For more info: Charlotte @ Brevard County boxscore
Brandon Woodruff (1-1, 4.38 ERA) will try to get the Manatees back on track Wednesday when he takes the mound against Charlotte righty Jacob Faria (7-1, 1.55 ERA). First pitch is set for 6:35 p.m.