Mudcats drop a close one 3-2
ZEBULON - In their attempt to take the series against the Wilmington Blue Rocks in the second game the Mudcats lost a close one 3-2.
Right-handed pitcher Danny Salazar took the mound for the Mudcats and went into the game on a strict pitch limit as he is still in the process of being stretched out. He is the only member of the Mudcats on the Cleveland Indians 40-man roster.
Salazar had a less then stellar outing as he ended up going three and two thirds innings and gave up three runs on four hits and three walks. In one of the most telling stats of his outing Salazar allowed the first batter of the inning to reach in three of the four innings he pitched, and in all of these occasions the leadoff hitter was able to come around to score.
Mudcats manager Edwin Rodriguez said that Salazar "struggled” and that “it’s very important to keep the lead off man from reaching”. He also emphasized the importance of not walking the leadoff man which happened twice in the first two innings.
Right-hander Brett Brach came into the game to relieve Salazar in the fourth innings and was able to shut down the Blue Rocks for the remainder of the game going five and one third innings of scoreless relief, which gave the Mudcats the opportunity to come back.
Rodriguez seemed very pleased with Brach's effort. "He was able to come in and keep the game close," he said.
However it was not meant to be the Mudcats day as Blue Rocks starter Sugar Ray Marimon was able to put together a pretty good outing. His only blemish came on a fourth inning home run from Mudcat first baseman Jesus Aguilar. He ended with a line of five and two thirds innings while giving up six hits and only one run. The hits that Marimon did give up were scattered throughout his outing which didn’t allow the Mudcats to get anything going.
"[We] faced good pitching tonight and Marimon was very good," Rodriguez said.
The Blue Rocks came into the game having only scored four runs through their first four games, but jumped out to an early 1-0 lead. Salazar walked Blue Rock center fielder Whit Merrifield on four pitches to lead off the game. After a stolen base first baseman Brian Fletcher was able to drive a liner out to left center for a double scoring Merrifield easily.
Salazar's problems continued as he again walked the leadoff batter in the second inning, right fielder Guelin Beltre. The Blue Rocks ended up loading up the bases with no outs as DH Jake Kuebler recorded an infield single and catcher Travis Jones drew another walk from Salazar. The damage was limited to one run as Salazar induced a sacrifice fly by Blue Rock second baseman Luis Piterson leaving runners at first and second. The next two Blue Rock hitters were unable to do anything keeping the lead at a manageable 2-0 defecit.
The Mudcats first chance of the night came in the second as designated hitter Anthony Gallas was able to hit a hard liner over the head of the blue rocks third baseman Cheslor Cuthbert leading to a double. Following the double Cuthbert - who had two errors the previous night - was able to rob the Mudcats of their first score as he dove to his left and snagged a hard hit groundball by Mudcat third baseman Tyler Cannon and quickly got to his feet and threw a strike to first getting Cannon by a step. Following this play left fielder Delvi Cid was unable to bring in Gallas with two outs as he struckout.
In the fourth inning Salazar again had trouble keeping the lead off batter off base as Geulin Beltre hit a line shot out to right field for a double. After recording two outs without the runner scoring Salazar was unable to get out of the inning unscathed as Blue Rock second baseman Luis Pieterson was able to get a broken bat single up the middle to allow for Beltre to score and give the Blue Rocks the 3-0 lead. This hit resulted in the end of Salazar's night as righty Brett Brach was brought in to relieve him. Brach was able to get out of the inning without a pitch as he quickly picked Pieterson off first.
The Mudcats were finally able to get across their first run of the game in the fourth when Aguilar slammed a homer over the right field wall making the score 3-1.
The game stalled at 3-1 until the bottom of the ninth when the Mudcats put together a solid comeback effort. Moncrief lead of the ninth with a single against Blue Rock pitcher Leondy Perez and was able to advance to second on a baulk. After a Gallas groundball that moved Moncrief to third, Cannon came up and drove a double to right center pushing across Moncrief to cut the deficit to one and Cannon was in scoring position with only one out. However pinch hitter Jeremie Tice and second baseman Justin Toole were unable to get the tying run home as they both grounded out.
The Mudcats will have to wait until tomorrow to try to get the series win as they will play the third game of the three game series against the Blue Rocks on Wednesday night at 7:15.
Notes: The Blue Rocks entered the game with no extra base hits on the year but were able to get three, all doubles off Mudcat pitching on Tuesday.