By Bryan Levine, SunCoast Sports
PORT CHARLOTTE — It may have been a typical humid Florida day on Thursday, but the Dunedin Blue Jays managed to stay cool because they spent the night being fanned by Travis Ott.
The Charlotte Stone Crabs pitcher struck out nine Blue Jays in five innings of work on the way to a 7-1 win in the third game of the Florida State League series.
“He was outstanding,” manager Michael Johns said. “The first inning he threw a ton of pitches, but he settled in and threw all his pitches for strikes. He threw five on a night we really needed him to cover some innings.”
The left-hander allowed no runs on just one hit and three walks in his 88-pitch outing. Two of those walks came in the first inning, and Ott was essentially flawless after that.
Ott’s teammates gave him a lead to work with.
Ryan Boldt’s solo home run in the first inning gave the Stone Crabs a quick advantage. Newly-promoted shortstop Lucius Fox had another nice game in his second showing with Charlotte.
Fox had a two-run single in the second that gave the Stone Crabs all the runs they would need. David Olmedo-Barrera had a pair of hits to go along with two RBI and a run scored.
“I thought we played a complete game,” Johns said. “We made all the routine plays. We turned a big double play in the first inning and we had a lot of two-out RBIs.”
To Johns’ two-out RBI comment, Angel Moreno, Daniel Robertson, Boldt and Olmedo-Barrera all drove in runs with two outs in the inning.
Reece Karalus pitched the final four innings for Charlotte. He surrendered just one run on three hits and a walk for his first save of the season.
Tampa Bay Rays outfielder Kevin Kiermaier and infielder Robertson were both in the lineup on Thursday for their first rehab appearances. Kiermaier went 0-for-2 while Robertson went 1-for-2 with an RBI single.
Both Rays played four innings in the field, and are expected to be back in the lineup again for today’s series finale against the Blue Jays.