By Bryan Levine, SunCoast Sports
PORT CHARLOTTE — The Charlotte Stone Crabs dug themselves quite a hole Tuesday night on the way to a franchise-worst sixth straight loss to begin the season.
Allowing seven runs in the second inning, the Stone Crabs fought to come back, but continued to search for their first win of the season after a 12-6 loss to the Palm Beach Cardinals.
“We’ve got to get in the strike zone,” was the only thing manager Michael Johns had to say after the game about his team’s pitching.
The night started off great for Charlotte starter Genesis Cabrera, who struck out four of the first five batters he faced, but that was the end of his good night.
Cabrera issued three straight walks with one out in the second inning, then the Cardinals struck the first blow with a two-run single by No. 9 hitter Austin Wilson. Palm Beach had seven consecutive batters score a run, as they totaled four walks, two singles, a triple and a double in the inning.
Every Cardinals batter reached base that inning except for Luke Dykstra (son of former Major League Baseball player Lenny Dykstra), but he did manage an RBI groundout in his second at-bat of the inning.
Things didn’t get much better for Stone Crab pitchers after that, even though they held the Cardinals to just three more runs. In total, Charlotte’s pitchers issued nine walks and also hit two batters. A Cardinals batter reached base 26 different times in the game.
The Stone Crabs still had its chances in the loss. They left had plenty of players reach base while stranding 13 on the night.
“Offense did a great job coming back,” Johns said. “We were a couple hits away from getting back in it. Defensively we played well, but we have to get in the strike zone. We have to get in the strike zone.”
Jake Cronenworth continued to be a positive for the Stone Crabs, as he reached base four times to improve his average to .455 with a .607 on-base percentage. Nathan Lukes went 4 for 5 with two RBI. Kevin Padlo went 3 for 5, with two runs, an RBI and was a homer shy of the cycle.