Bradenton Marauders | M's suffer first loss on an Opening Night

Bradenton 0-2 for first time

jlembo@bradenton.comApril 6, 2013 

BRADENTON -- Wins and losses are not paramount in minor-league baseball.

But excuse Bradenton Marauders fans if they had grown spoiled by how their team customarily played during the first home game of the season.

The Marauders' first three home openers went something like this: Rout. Rout. Exciting extra-inning win.

Friday, however, brought a new wrinkle to the four-year-old franchise: an Opening Night defeat.

The high Single-A affiliate of the Pittsburgh Pirates lost 4-1 to the Fort Myers Miracle in front of 4,644 fans at

McKechnie Field.

It was time the Marauders lost their home opener. And it's the first time the Marauders are 0-2.

There were some highlights.

Center fielder Gregory Polanco, the Pirates' Minor League Player of the Year in 2012, singled three times, stole a base and drove in the Marauders' lone run. And shortstop Alen Hanson, ranked the Pirates' third-best prospect by, went deep to his right to rob Miguel Sano of a base hit in the first inning.

Sano is the top-ranked prospect in the Minnesota Twins' organization.

And Marauders starter Nick Kingham retired the first nine he faced before stumbling in the fourth, when the Miracle loaded the bases with none out and scored two runs on a wild pitch and a passed ball.

"I was getting too comfortable, relying on my fastball more than I should have," said Kingham, who allowed three runs (two earned) in five innings and is ranked the Pirates' 17th-best prospect by "I didn't really throw too many offspeed (pitches) the whole game. I didn't really need to, I felt like. The second time through the lineup, I should have mixed it up a little more."

The Marauders outhit the Miracle (2-0) 6-5. But all six Bradenton hits were singles, while Fort Myers got solo home runs from Kyle Knudson and Kennys Vargas.

"Against their starter, we swung at some pitches ... and acted like we had two strikes," Marauders manager Frank Kremblas said. "That's not making him work. We're giving him easy outs, and that can't happen. Then they bring a reliever in that we've never seen in our lives, and we're swinging at the first pitch. What are we doing?

"That's just kind of stuff that you learn as you go up. You can't do that. Make the guys work."

The Marauders' most promising rally came in the second, when Willy Garcia singled and stole second and Jacob Stallings walked with one out.

But Eric Avila lined out to center, and Carlos Mesa grounded out to third.

"First game at home. ... We were probably a little anxious," said Stallings, who had three hits during Thursday's season opener at Fort Myers. "But we've got some really good hitters on this team. They'll settle down."

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