For one inning the Potomac offense broke out of its funk, but the bullpen remains offbeat, giving up six runs in five innings in a 7-3 loss to Wilmington.
The bottom of the lineup did the bulk of the damage, as nos. 7-9 batters Adrian Sanchez, Randolph Oduber, and Wilmer Difo went back-to-back-to-back with singles to lead off the 5th, with Difo flashing some speed as he turned a would-be sacrifice into a bunt single.
Billy Burns sent in Sanchez with a sacrifice fly and Jason Martinson got the clutch double over the head of Blue Rocks CF Lane Adams to complete the three-run rally.
Rob Gilliam, making his first start of 2013, went the first four innings and allowed just one run on a home run by veteran Wilmington 1B Jared Schlehuber. He struck out five and allowed three hits total while walking two — a solid first outing. He left down 1-0.
Working on five days’ rest, Brian Dupra should have been much sharper. Instead he gave up consecutive singles to open the 5th. A botched bunt enabled Adrian Nieto to easily throw out the lead man at third and for Dupra to escape the inning without a run scored.
No such luck in the 6th as Dupra was unable to retire the four batters he faced, giving up three singles and a walk before being lifted. This was arguably at least two innings less than what was probably expected from him, given his usage this season as a long reliever and spot starter. He left with a 3-2 lead and the bases loaded.
Matt Grace was the second man in from the ‘pen and was also well-rested (five days). After getting a badly needed double play ball, which tied the game at 3-3, he served up a single to center that plated the go-ahead run. Like Dupra, his second inning of work was worse than the first. Unlike Dupra, he got two outs before letting up two singles and a two-run double that pushed the Blue Rocks advantage from 4-3 to 6-3.
Richie Mirowski repeated the pattern with a scoreless 8th and a run in the 9th as the leadoff man reached first on a strikeout that wasn’t caught and came around to score on two-out single for the game’s final run at 7-3.
The offense broke a 15-inning scoring drought with the three-run 5th but failed to score the rest of the way with just three baserunners over the last four frames.
The loss drops Potomac to 20-18 for the season and into third place in the Carolina League North, a game behind division-leading Lynchburg and a ½ game behind second-place Frederick.
RHP A.J. Cole (1-1, 3.65) takes the hill in Game Two of the three-game set, opposed by Wilmington RHP Spencer Patton (3-1, 1.88).