Who’s the ace of Potomac Nationals staff? Taylor Jordan made his case with eight shutout innings to lead the P-Nats to a 5-1 victory and a 3-1 series win over the Carolina Mudcats.
Facing a Carolina lineup with three lefties and three switch hitters, Jordan pounded the inside the corner all night long, producing 13 outs on the ground — thanks to some nifty defense by Khayyan Norfork, who had seven assists at 2B and combined twice with SS Cutter Dykstra on double plays — and keeping the Mudcat batters.
Indeed, the highlight of the night for Jordan might have been the matchup with the penultimate batter, Zach MacPhee. Jordan fell behind 3-0 with a runner on 2nd and just one out. A fastball inside got the mercy strike. MacPhee twirled the bat as if he were tossing it to the bat boy for ball four but didn’t let go (a rather adept move: a one-handed windmill over the shoulder and back up to the hitting position), which certainly didn’t help his case.
Jordan threw the same pitch to the same location on the 3-1 count. Though the last offering may have been ball four, this was closer, as Nieto made no effort to frame the pitch. MacPhee made the same yes-no-okay-we’re-still-here twirl with with the bat. Jordan threw the same pitch, another inch inside and lower.
Called strike three.Complain if you must about an “ump show,” but there’s not much sympathy for a guy who gets two “warnings.”
Offensively, Potomac would give Jordan all the support he would need early.
Billy Burns beat out an infield tapper despite a Omar Vizquel-style grab and sling from 19-year-old Francisco Lindor (remember that name, kid’s got the Motts), got balked to second and took third on a too-sharp line-drive single to left by Dykstra. Jason Martinson plated him a with a single literally off the pitcher (he stayed in the game) for a 1-0 lead after one.
In the 2nd, Caleb Ramsey, Adrian Sanchez, and Norfork went back-to-back-to-back with singles, with Sanchez executing a sweet hit-and-run to the right side to move Ramsey to third while Norfork got the RBI and took the extra base when Carolina missed the cutoff man. A sacrifice fly by Burns sent in Sanchez and Norfork easily came home on a leg double by Michael Taylor.
Three innings later, Norfork would complete the Potomac scoring by turning around a high fastball to dead center for his first home run of the season.
With the win, Potomac improves to 13-14 and remains two games behind Lynchburg in the Carolina League North. A.J. Cole (0-1, 4.85) takes the hill tonight for the P-Nats against Myrtle Beach’s Luke Jackson (3-0, 1.27) as the Pelicans come to town for the weekend.