The Bowie Baysox snapped a five-game losing streak with a 6-5 win Tuesday night over the Richmond Flying Squirrels. The Baysox move to 16-17 and remain in fourth place in the Eastern League’s Western Division, five games behind the division-leading Altoona Curve.
Starting pitcher Chorye Spoone broke a losing streak of his own, giving up five hits and four runs (two earned) over five innings to earn the win after losing his last four consecutive starts.
“It’s huge [to get off the losing streak],” said Spoone, who spent all of last year working his way back to Bowie as he recovered from shoulder surgery he underwent in September 2008. “A lot of people are saying they don’t expect me to be in good form until mid-season, but you have expectations for yourself and I don’t care if I had surgery yesterday, if I’m able to throw, I want to win and not give up any runs. So, every time I go out there, that’s my mindset.”
“You know, he’s coming along,” said Baysox pitching coach Kennie Steenstra. “He stayed within himself a little better, kept his emotions in check, it’s a good one to build on. Hopefully we can get a little better next time and keep going.”
“In my last three outings and in my bullpen sessions, I’ve really found my mechanics; they’ve gotten like 30 times better,” said Spoone, a Pasadena, Md. native. “I’m in the zone, throwing all my pitches for strikes. Obviously it’s a long process recovering from my surgery, but I’m feeling a lot stronger now. I got a lot of groundballs, threw a lot of strikes and I felt solid with the way I threw. I got my curveball back, and just battled as much as I could.”
Spoone got two ground outs to open the game and nearly sailed through the first inning but for a fielding error on shortstop Pedro Florimon that allowed Squirrels outfielder Thomas Neal to reach first. Richmond punished the Baysox for the misstep with a long home run to left-center by designated hitter Roger Kieschnick to open up a 2-0 lead.
“The [home run] I gave up after the error tonight, there was nothing more I could’ve done; I put the ball exactly where I wanted to throw it,” Spoone said. “All night I threw the exact same pitch and got ground ball after ground ball, but I threw that one there and he was able to get it up in the air — I’m not sure how, I guess he’s a just good hitter and hit a home run. I threw it exactly where I wanted to, down at the knees and sinking away, and he went down and got it, so I give him credit for that.”
Joel Guzman started the comeback in the bottom of the second inning as he doubled on a hard line drive off the wall in center field and moved to third on a wild pitch. He scored when Robbie Widlansky grounded out to third for the second out to cut the deficit in half.
Richmond hung their first earned run on Spoone in the top of the third on a sacrifice fly from Noonan, but the Baysox responded with a big two-out rally in the bottom of the frame.
Outfielder Paco Figueroa got his team moving with a well-executed bunt single to the left of the mound. Ryan Adams followed with a broken-bat single up the middle to record a hit in his ninth consecutive game, the Baysox longest hit streak so far this year and one away from matching the longest hit streak of 2009. Tyler Henson tacked on a run with his team-leading 21st RBI of the season on a line drive single to left-center that plated Figueroa and Guzman cleared the bases with another double to left-center field. Third baseman Brandon Waring followed with a double of his own to send Guzman across the plate and when the dust settled, the Baysox held a 5-3 lead.
Guzman has six doubles in the month of May after he crushed five home runs in April but did not hit for average especially well.
“Hitting is like that, every day you try to work on the same approach,” said Guzman. “Keep it simple, you’ll get a good pitch and make good contact. If you’re seeing the ball well, you’re going to hit it.”
The Baysox and Flying Squirrels traded runs in the fifth stanza. Richmond’s came on a Kieschnick single that plated outfielder Darren Ford. Bowie answered back as Henson hit a double to left to lead off the bottom half of the inning, advancing to third on a fly out and scoring on Waring’s sacrifice fly to center.
Right-hander Eddie Gamboa came on to relieve Spoone in the sixth inning and did well, with two hits and an unearned run through two innings with a walk and a strikeout. The unearned run came in the top of the seventh; with two outs, Waring botched the catch of a high foul ball to extend third baseman Conor Gillaspie’s at-bat before Gillaspie drove in a run courtesy of a Florimon fielding error.
Reliever Pedro Beato took the mound in the eighth and gave up just a hit with no runs as he struck out three batters to close out the game and record the Baysox first save since April 23, his first save of the season.
The Baysox are back in action Wednesday morning for an 11 a.m. start in the rubber match against the Flying Squirrels. The home stand moves on as the Erie SeaWolves come to town for a four-game set that will include the Baysox signature fireworks celebration on Friday and Saturday, presented by Educational Systems Federal Credit Union. The weekend also features the Baysox annual Bark in the Park event on Sunday, when fans are welcome to bring their dog to the game on a leash and with some proof of current rabies vaccination. Bark in the Park will feature dog-related promotions and freebies as well as a special visit from Clifford the Big Red Dog in the kids’ park before the game, presented by Maryland Public Television.