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Home Runs Lift Baysox Over Phillies

| June 15, 2011, 06:30 AM | 0 Comments

The Baysox were out-hit 13-6 at home against the Reading Phillies Tuesday night, but used three solo home runs to win the series opener 6-4. With the win, the Baysox improve to 33-31 on the season.

Right-handed pitcher Steve Johnson earned his fourth straight win as he pitched seven innings and allowed three runs on seven hits while striking out six. Johnson had pitched just two and one-third innings in the last two weeks after having his last start cut short when he was hit in the arm by a line drive.

“My off-speed wasn’t too good – my curveball and slider to be exact,” Johnson said. “My change-up was kind of hit or miss, but it was probably my second-best pitch tonight. Deeper in the game it got a little better, but they were a little rusty. For the most part I think I handled it pretty well. I was glad I was able to keep the team in the game for seven innings.”

Third baseman Brandon Waring hit his fourth home run in four games to spark a Baysox offense that has hit eight home runs in the past five games. First baseman Joe Mahoney, who spent more than a month on the Disabled List, also hit a home run in his first game back with the Baysox.

“I made an adjustment at the plate – I moved my hands down; freed them up a little bit, taking the body out of the equation,” Waring said. “It has let me see the ball longer and I’m getting some pitches to hit and I’m not missing them right now.”

The Phillies jumped out to an early lead in the top of the second inning.  Stephen Susdorf led off with a double to right field on the first pitching of the inning.  Then with one out, Derrick Mitchell knocked him in with a single down the left field line to make the score 1-0.

In the bottom half of the inning the Baysox tied the game when third baseman Brandon Waring blasted his ninth home run of the season to left field with one out to even the score at 1-1.

Reading took the lead back in the top of the fourth inning.  Matt Rizzotti walked and moved to second on a single through the hole at shortstop by Cody Overbeck.  After a Susdorf fly out, Carlos Rivero singled to load the bases.  Derrick Mitchell then gave the Phillies the lead with a sacrifice fly to right field that plated Rizzotti and made the score 2-1.

The Baysox again answered right back in the bottom of the fourth inning against Reading starter Austin Hyatt.  With one out, Mahoney hit his second home run of the season to right field to tie the score.  Then with two outs left fielder Robbie Widlansky hit the Baysox third solo home run of the game to right field to give them a 3-2 lead.

“Joe is obviously a great hitter,” Widlansky said. “He’s a good presence in the lineup and Waring has been hitting well the past week or two. He’s really feeling it and that’s good for all of us. We put some good swings on the ball and hit them out of the park.”

In the sixth inning, the Baysox added on to their lead.  Catcher Caleb Joseph led off with a double to right field and then Mahoney walked.  After Waring struck out, Reading changed pitchers and Jake Diekman entered the game. Facing Diekman, Widlansky knocked in his second run of the game when he doubled down the left field line to score Joseph and move Mahoney to third.  Right fielder Ronnie Welty then walked to load the bases and shortstop Pedro Florimon reached on an infield single that allowed Mahoney to score. On that play, Phillies shortstop Freddy Galvis booted the ball into left field allowing Widlansky to score and give the Baysox a 6-2 lead.

Reading got one run back in the top of the seventh inning on a solo home run to left field by Mitchell to make the score 6-3.

Left-handed pitcher Nick Bierbrodt replaced Johnson in the top of the eighth inning, but did not record an out as all three of the batters he faced reached base. Gabino helped the Baysox get out of that jam in the eighth as he retired three straight batters to end the inning. Gabino pitched one and one-third innings and struck out two though he allowed an earned run in the ninth inning.

In the ninth inning the Phillies threatened again against right-handed relief pitcher Armando Gabino.  With one out, Tuffy Gosewich and Freddy Galvis hit back to back singles that put runners at first and third.  Michael Spidale hit a bloop single to center field that scored Gosewich and made it a two run game.  Left-handed reliever Pedro Viola then entered the game and retired the final two batters to earn his second save of the season.

The Baysox hit three home runs in Tuesday’s win, but each home run was a solo shot as the Baysox mostly struggled to hit when runners were in scoring position. However, Bowie’s plate discipline was better as the team drew five walks, including Welty, who walked a team-high four times.

“You would have liked to be on base when we hit those home runs, but all in all, we had good at bats, we hit some balls sharp,” said Manager Gary Kendall. “[LJ] Hoes had some good swings where he lined out twice to the opposite field. We had some walks, we saw some pitches and we competed better. It would’ve been nice if we could’ve pushed a couple more opportunities across – those add-on runs, they all come up big.”

With the return of Mahoney to the middle of the Baysox order and with Waring, Widlansky and Welty all capable of going deep, Bowie’s offense looks to continue the hot-streak they began during the last road-trip where the team went 4-1.

“On the road trip we started the get some production out of it [the middle of the lineup] and tonight, having Mahoney and Waring and Widlansky – all guys that went deep tonight – with that capability of going deep, that’s always a nice thing,” Kendall said. “Right behind them is Welty who can also go deep so it makes it a little more formidable.”

Widlansky, who leads the team with 33 RBIs so far this season, broke out of a cold stretch with two RBIs in Tuesday’s win. Widlansky had driven in just two runs in the past 14 games.

Wednesday, LHP Rick Zagone (2-4, 4.53) takes the mound for the Baysox as they hos the Reading Phillies. His opponent will be LHP Ryan Edell (5-1, 3.50).

The Baysox are home through Thursday, June 16, which is Legends of Wrestling Night with a special appearance by Jerry “The King” Lawler. The team then goes on a six-game road trip before returning home Friday, June 24. For more information on Baysox promotions and theme nights, visit www.baysox.com.

Baysox Baseball – We’ll Knock Your ‘Sox Off. The Baysox 19th season as the class Double-A affiliate of the Baltimore Orioles is underway. Parking is free at every Baysox home game and tickets are now available at www.baysox.com.

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