The Tampa Yankees scored early and often against Brevard County Manatees starter Johnny Hellweg on Tuesday, but had to stave off a late rally by the Manatees in a 12-7 run fest at George M. Steinbrenner Field.
Hellweg (1-4) who pitched five innings of no-hit baseball against Tampa last Thursday, just didn’t have it on Tuesday night. The Yankees scored twice against him in the first inning, without the benefit of a hit. Hellweg issued four straight walks, the last to Miguel Andujar, scoring Abiatal Avelino. A wild pitch to Kyle Higashioka, scored Dustin Fowler with the second run.
After sending seven men to the plate in the first inning, the Yankees did the same in the second, scoring three more runs on three hits. An error did make one run unearned, but Jorge Mateo’s two-run double and a double by Mike Ford made it a 5-0 game after two innings.
Meanwhile, Tampa starter Vicente Campos cruised through the first three innings, retiring all nine Manatees he faced. In the fourth inning, Chris McFarland reached on an error and went to second on a ground out by Clint Coulter. Garrett Cooper’s 30th double of the season scored McFarland to make it 5-1.
Tampa (22-23, 56-59 overall) answered with two runs in the bottom of the fourth on Mike Ford’s fourth homer of the season and his fourth in seven days, giving the Yankees a 7-1 lead. Hellweg got through the fourth, but was replaced by Zach Hirsch to start the fifth. Hellweg allowed seven runs –four earned- on six hits, walked four and struck out five.
Hirsch did not fare well in the fifth, allowing four runs to the Yankees. The inning was highlighted by three straight singles to start the inning, the last by Ericson Leonora, scoring Higashioka. After Michael O’Neill hit into a double-play, Mateo made it 9-1 with an RBI single. Fowler’s two-run single, made it 11-1.
Brevard County (18-25, 47-65 overall) to their credit, put up a heck of a fight in the top of the sixth. After singles by Omar Garcia and McFarland, Coulter doubled Garcia home, making it an 11-2 contest. That was the end of the night for Campos, who was replaced by Manolo Reyes. Reyes uncorked a wild pitch, scoring McFarland to make it 11-3. Garrett Cooper followed with a walk, putting runners at the corners. One out later, Taylor Brennan grounded into a fielders’ choice, scoring Coulter with the Manatees fourth run. After Rafael Neda doubled, Michael Ratterree walked to load the bases. Angel Ortega followed with a two-run single, making it an 11-6 game. The Manatees sixth and final run of the inning came on a wild pitch, allowing Ratterree to score.
That’s as close as the Manatees would get, as the Yankees posted one more run in the bottom of the sixth. Andujar tripled to start the inning and came home on a double by Leonora. Zach Hirsch left after that inning, allowing five runs on eight hits and striking out one. Stephen Peterson came in to finish things up for the Manatees. He pitched two innings, allowing only one hit.
For more info: Brevard County @ Tampa boxscore
Brevard County will look to avoid the sweep Wednesday, when they send Brandon Woodruff (1-5, 4.39 ERA) to the hill. Tampa will counter with Chaz Hebert. First pitch is scheduled for 7:00 p.m.