For the 20th time in their last 25 games, the St. Petersburg Cardinals found a way to lose. Sarasota jumped on St. Petersburg starter Rick Shackle for three runs in the first inning and cruised to an 8-5 victory Tuesday night at Al Lang Stadium. Shackle, who entered the game with a 2.03 earned-run average, lasted three innings, yielding seven hits and five runs to drop to 2-5 on the season. Robert Harris, Kevin Castleberry and Ron Plemmons all singled to start the game and spark the White Sox (33-23). Plemmons added an RBI triple in the third inning and then scored on Ed Smith's single to make it 5-1.
St. Petersburg (21-35) pulled to within one run with a three-run fourth inning, but a Skeets Thomas double play and a Paul Ellis popup got Sarasota reliever and winning pitcher Scott Stevens (3-3) out of a bases-loaded jam.
Sarasota added a run each in the fifth, sixth and eighth innings. Plemmons led the White Sox's 12-hit attack by going 3-for-5.
Winter Haven 0
CLEARWATER _ Mike Williams shut out the Winter Haven Red Sox 4-0 Tuesday night at Jack Russell Stadium. The victory helped the division-leading Phillies set a first-half club record with 35 wins.
Williams (6-3) allowed three hits, no walks, seven strikeouts and lowered his ERA to 1.56.
_ Times correspondent Bill Campbell contributed to this report.