Miracle drop third in a row in series opener

FORT MYERS, Fla.- Jimmy Reed pitched a complete game for the Palm Beach Cardinals in a 4-2 series opening win over the Fort Myers Miracle at Hammond Stadium on Sunday afternoon.

Reed (2-0) inherited an early lead midway through the third after the Cardinals scratched across a run against Miracle starter Brett Lee in the top half of the inning. With one out, C.J. McElroy singled on a chopper over Niko Goodrum’s head at third base. Mason Katz followed with a base hit up the middle. Bruce Caldwell flew out to right for the second out and McElroy tagged up to third. On the first pitch to Voit, Lee (0-1) surrendered a bloop single into right field and McElroy scored, 1-0.

The Cardinals added three runs in the fifth. McElroy set the table with an infield hit and stole second base. Katz picked up his third hit with a knock through right side and McElroy advanced to third. Caldwell then ripped a single into right to bring in a run. After Voit flew out to center for the first out, Lee fanned Rowan Wick. Carson Kelly stepped up and hit a flare into center field to score two runs and push the Palm Beach lead out to 4-0.

Reed had tossed five scoreless frames until the Miracle got a pair in the sixth. Tanner Vavra led off with a walk, but was retired on a force play at second. Goodrum took Vavra’s spot at first, but he also was put down on a force hit into by Chad Christensen. With one on and two out, Jason Kanzler kept the inning alive with a single into left field. Logan Wade followed with a base knock into left to score Christensen and get the Miracle on the board. On Reed’s next pitch, Marcus Knecht laced a double into left to bring Kanzler around and cut the Cardinal lead down to 4-2.

After Knecht’s double, Reed retired nine Miracle hitters in a row spanning into the ninth inning. Mitch Garver broke up the string with a two-out single, but was stranded at first to end the game when Bryan Haar flew out to right. Reed allowed just two runs on seven hits with one walk and four strikeouts.

Coming off the disabled list to make his first start of the season, Lee gave up four runs on 11 hits with no walks and four strikeouts over five innings.

Dereck Rodriguez made his Florida State League debut with two scoreless innings out of the Miracle bullpen. The duo of Brandon Peterson and Madison Boer recorded the final six outs without giving up a run.