With 13 walks given up, there wasn’t much doubt that Winston-Salem would lose, the only question was by how much.
The answer was 6-2 as Potomac only mustered five hits but got seven strong innings from starter Trevor Holder and a scoreless inning apiece from sidewinders Jimmy Barthmaier and Joe Testa.
It was the second straight start that Holder pitched seven or more innings as the 25-year-old veteran has become the anchor, if not the ace, of the P-Nats rotation. He didn’t walk a single batter but more importantly (for him), he kept the ball down. Thirteen of the 21 outs he got came via groundballs, which is his hallmark when things are going well.
Winston-Salem did get to Holder early, with Dan Black roping a two-out single to right that plated Marcus Semien, who had led off the game with a double down the LF line. Black would be next batter to reach base as Holder retired nine in a row.
Potomac left ‘em loaded in the first (would you believe on three walks?) but tied it in the second. Michael Taylor led off with a bunt single and took third when the catcher’s throw to first ended up in the bullpen down the RF line. Kevin Keyes made the error moot with a wall-ball double that would have scored Taylor from any base.
The P-Nats took the lead in the third as Jason Martinson singled in Rick Hague who had… wait for it… walked earlier in the inning.
Raindrops began to fall in the fourth, and for a few moments, it seemed like it was only a matter of time that game might be called. But strangely, once the game became official as Holder worked around a one-out single in the fifth, that’s when things took a turn for the worse for the Dash pitchers.
Winston-Salem’s Jon Bachanov issued walk nos. five, six, and seven to load the bases and get the hook. J.R. Ballinger struck out rehabbing Carlos Maldonado for out #2 of the frame, then walked in a run to put Potomac up 3-1. Taylor drove in two more with a single to left.
It would be tempting to write “and the rout was on,” but lost in all these walks were the 11 strikeouts the P-Nats piled up — on a night when the Dash pitchers couldn’t find a Starbucks in Seattle, much less the strike zone. Potomac left 12 baseunners on, and should have broken into double digits in the “R” column.
With the win, the P-Nats improve to 2-0 in the second half. The chance for a sweep is in the hands of Matt Grace (4-6, 5.24), opposed by Jake Petricka (4-4, 5.34).