BOWIE, Md. – The Baysox (22-28) shut out the Altoona Curve (22-27) 4-0 to win their first home series of the year Monday afternoon. It was the team’s third shutout win of the season and third win in a row.
The team was going on all cylinders as the Baysox pitching tied their season best by allowing just three hits and the Baysox offense continued to come through with big hits that helped build the team’s lead. Four of the team’s 10 hits were for extra-bases.
“Everything was in sync today,” said Manager Gary Kendall. “We got some big extra-base hits – they are huge because when we were in those ruts where we were losing five straight, it seemed like if we had six hits they were six singles. It takes away a lot of pressure when you are able to hit a home run, especially with a man on base. Things were falling into place and guys were able to manufacture runs because of that extra base.”
Baltimore Orioles Brian Roberts and Endy Chavez were both in the lineup for the Baysox Monday afternoon on Major League rehab assignments. Roberts finished 1-3 with a double and Chavez finished 1-2 with a walk.
Baysox right-handed starting pitcher Oliver Drake pitched six shutout innings for the Baysox Monday afternoon. He did not allow a hit through the first four and one-third innings of the game and allowed just one total hit while striking out three batters and walking three in the win.
“My sinker was moving and I was getting some ground balls and I was able to have them put swings on ball in counts that I wanted to,” said Drake. “It was able to throw all of my pitches for strikes today, which was nice. There were a couple times where I got a little erratic and fell behind a couple guys and walked them for the most part I was able to make them hit the ball on the ground.”
“I always used to hear managers say, ‘you get good karma when you get good starting pitching,’ and you aren’t going to get any better than that,” Kendall said. “[Drake] went out there and commanded his pitches. It was a good day.”
The Baysox jumped out to a rare early lead in the bottom of the third inning against Altoona starter Phil Irwin. First baseman Buck Britton hit a lead off double to center field and moved to third base when right fielder Josh Barfield singled to left field. Britton scored when third baseman Zelous Wheeler grounded into a double play to give the Baysox a 1-0 lead.
Bowie added to their lead in the bottom of the fifth inning. Barfield hit a lead off single to center field and scored when Wheeler hit a two-run blast to center field to make the score 3-0.
“We have a runner on second base with now outs and I was just trying to get him over and I hit a home run,” Wheeler said. “It was a nice day to play the game and we had some good at bats today so it was nice to come away with the win.”
The Baysox added an insurance run in the bottom of the eighth inning against Altoona reliever Mike Colla. Hoes hit a lead off double to left-center field and moved to third base on a sacrifice bunt by designated hitter Robbie Widlansky. Shortstop Manny Machado hit another sacrifice fly to plate Hoes and give the Baysox a 4-0 lead.
Right-handed reliever Robert Hinton pitched a scoreless seventh inning, allowing one hit and striking out one batter. Left-handed reliever Cole McCurry pitched a scoreless eighth inning in his first appearance out of the bullpen this season. Right-handed reliever Pat Egan pitched the ninth inning for the Baysox and allowed one hit, while walking one batter.
RHP Tim Bascom (3-2, 4.25) takes the mound for the Baysox tomorrow as they begin a three game road series against the Akron Aeros. He will be opposed by RHP Giovanni Soto (4-2, 4.07). The Baysox depart for Akron for a three game road trip beginning Tuesday, May 29 before returning to Bowie Friday, June 1 for a three game home stand against Reading.