Don’t look now, but the P-Nats just had a winning road trip.
With home runs from Kevin Keyes, Ricky Hague, and Jason Martinson, Potomac pounded Frederick for an 8-3 victory that completed a 2-1 series win and 4-3 road trip against the Keys and the Hillcats — the first winning road trip that lasted more than two games or two cities.
Robbie Ray pitched into the 7th for the first time since June 3rd, a string of eight starts in which the 20-year-old southpaw went 0-5 with a 5.43 ERA. Ray was working with his entire repetoire and showed early often, baffling the Keys by pitching “backwards” — hard stuff on the outside, breaking pitches on the inside. He walked one and struck out six.
He did, however, give up six hits and while two of the hits were of the infield variety (dribbler down the third base line, bunt to the left of the mound – both by Keys SS Garabez Rosa), he also gave up a long double to Tyler Townsend and a two-run homer that the vertically challenged J.P. Ramirez was unable to gather in at the left-field wall.
Potomac got on the board first with a four consecutive hits in the second as Steve Souza singled to right, took second on a wild pitch, took third on a Martinson (3-for-4, 3R, 3RBI) single and scored on a Stephen King double that bounded off third base and down the left field line. Ramirez followed with a grounder up the middle the Rosa was able to stop but not make the play to send in Martinson. King came in on a 1-6-3 DP that ended the rally but gave the P-Nats a 3-0 lead.
Ramirez would collect his second RBI single in the 4th to extend the lead to 4-1. Keyes homered to dead center in the 6th, his team-leading 15th HR and 55th RBI.
After the Keys cut the lead to 6-3 with the aforementioned rally in the bottom of the 6th, the P-Nats put the game away with three runs in the 8th, as Ricky Hague cleared the LF wall with his 6th HR and Martinson connected for his 10th for Potomac and 20th overall for the season, driving in pinch-runner Michael Taylor, who came in to run for Steve Souza who pulled up lame after an infield single.
Potomac resumes play on Tuesday with a brief three-game homestand against the Salem Red Sox. They are tied for first place in the Carolina League’s Northern Division with Lynchburg and lead Wilmington by a half game and Frederick by 2½ games. Potomac has no more games left against the Hillcats, but six left against the Blue Rocks, including the season’s final series in Delaware, and three left against Keys, which closes out the final regular-season homestand in Woodrbridge on August 24-26.