Game 63: Senators 6, Thunder 1
Behind strong pitching, the Harrisburg Senators got back in the win column with a 6-1 victory over the Trenton Thunder tonight at Waterfront Park in the Garden State. Josh Johnson and Bill Rhinehart both added home runs over the right-centerfield wall to add the offensive oomph necessary to break their season-worst four-game losing streak.
Shairon Martis threw a hell of a game as he stayed out of trouble by consistently keeping the ball down. And even when Martis made his pitches and his defense failed behind him (like in the bottom of the fifth inning), he didn't lose focus and he didn't let it affect him. Sure, that's when the Thunder scored their lone run but lately I've seen meltdowns under similar circumstances yield crooked numbers on the scoreboard.
The Senators played a sloppy game on defense as they committed four errors (including a catcher's interference). The saving grace for the Senators was that the Thunder were probably worse as they were charged with three errors and fell for the fake pickoff throw with runners on first and third.
Chris Rahl delivered a key two-out, two RBI single to right field on a ball he didn't try to do too much with to answer the Thunder's run and add to the Senators' cushion.
For the third game out of the last four, the Senators failed to lay down a pivotal sacrifice bunt and couldn't plate a run after getting the first two batters on base to start an inning.
The bullpen finished up the last three innings in scoreless fashion and looked pretty good doing it. Pat Lehman throws strikes and works quickly, Pat McCoy's 1-2-3 inning was his best outing since coming off the DL a couple of weeks ago, and Zech Zinicola is sliding back comfortably into the team's closer role after spending the first couple of months at extended spring training.
The Senators have a tendency (especially lately) of failing to go for the jugular and giving the opposing starting pitcher an opportunity to find his legs and settle down. It happened again tonight as highly touted Yankees' prospect Dellin Betances struggled in the first two innings but only allowed two runs and got stronger the deeper he worked.
The Sports 'Burger Star of the Game: Shairon Martis (6 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 5 K)
Next Game: Thursday 7:05 PM @ Waterfront Park vs. Trenton Thunder
Probables: Tanner Roark (HAR) 3-2, 6.67 vs. Craig Heyer (TRE) 6-3, 2.97