In a critical series for two contending teams, Dave Larson’s Taz Devils took three of four, on Saturday, July 11, to finish the first half at 26-14 to move into a tie for first place. Jonathan Stilwell’s Otters, meanwhile, slipped to two games out of first, with one series remaining, in Longwood, at Walt Taylor’s Whatevers.
Game 1 Taz Devils 9, Otters 8 (10 innings)
The home squad gave Charlie Morton a 3-0 lead going into the 4th but a Ronald Acuna homer cut the lead to one run. The Devils went up 4-2 on a Bret Gardner single in the bottom of the same inning. The Otters rallied and rallied, plating six runs in the 6th, 7th, and 8th innings. A Ketel Marte three run homer and a two run blast from Christian Yelich highlighted the uprising. With a comfortable lead going into the bottom of the 9th, the Devils batted around, tying the game. A bases loaded double from Zander Bogaerts was followed with an rbi single from Jeff McNeil. After a three up, three down top of the 10th, with one out, Max “not an elf” Kepler hit a game winning homer.
Otters 8-13-1 L- Nick Wittgren HR- Ketel Marte, Christian Yelich, Ronald Acuña.
Devils 9-12-1 W- Steve Cishek (1-1) HR- Mookie Betts (7), Cody Bellinger (9), Maz Kepler (6).
Game 2 Taz Devils 3, Otters 2
The visitors got single runs in each of the first two innings on rbi from Mike Trout and Pat Corbin. The Tazzies tied the game with two runs in the 4th on solo homers from Andrew Benentendi and James McCann. The next four and half innings were scoreless when Cody Bellinger,, with two outs, hit a game winning homer in the bottom of the 9th.
Otters 2-8-0 L- Tyler Duffey.
Devils 3-8-2 W- Josh Hader (3-0) HR- Andrew Benentendi (2), James McCann (1), Cody Bellinger (10).
Game 3 Taz Devils 4, Otters 1
Jack “Hammer” Flaherty got support with single runs plated in the3rd, 5th, 6th, and 7th. Flaherty allowed just one hit and three walks, keeping the Otters from reaching home. The Otters did push a run across in the 9th on a Fred E. Freeman double. The Devils got rbi from Bogaerts, Devers, Brantley, and a pinch hit homer from Carlos Santana.
Otters 1-2-0 L- Lance Lynn.
Devils 4-9-0 W- Jack Flaherty (4-2) SV- Trevor May (1) HR- Carlos Santana (3).
Game 4 Otters 8 Taz Devils 3
The visiting Otters built up a three-run lead through the top of the seventh inning. Freddie Freeman, Ketel Marte, and Yasmani Grandal had solo dingers for the runs. Down by three in the bottom of the 8th, Devils LF Brett Gardner hit a two-run homer to cut the lead to one run. After a walk to Mookie Betts, Michael Brantley doubled him home to tie the game. The furry fiends frustrations fueled a five-run rally in the top of the 9th. Yoan Moncada drove in a run to start the inning and Trout’s three run homer capped the rally. The Devils went down meekly in the bottom of the ninth. Kirby Yates got the win in relief.
Otters 8-13-2 W- Yates HR- Trout, Marte, Grandal, Freeman
Devils 3-3-1 L- Hader (3-1) HR- Gardner (5)