This could become a habit.
With a steady offensive attack — 10 hits, baserunners in six of eight innings, and just six runners stranded — the Potomac Nationals prevailed by a 5-2 count this afternoon, sweeping the Salem Red Sox for their fourth straight win.
With the first-place Myrtle Beach Pelicans the next team to visit as the P-Nats enter game eight of a 14-game homestand, we’ll soon see how much this is actual progress and how much this has been a function of merely facing an also-ran.
Paul Demny won his first home start in four tries, pitching five and 2/3rds innings, surrendering both Salem runs on five hits, three walks and five strikeouts. Unfortunately, one of those hits was a monster solo shot that hit the top of the scoreboard for his 10th home run allowed, tied for the most among Carolina League pitchers.
For better or worse, the hit parade was clustered with the Nos. 6-8 batters Sandy Leon (2-for-3), J.R. Higley, and Justino Cuevas (both 3-for-4). For folks looking for signs of progress, six of the ten hits and two of the four RBI came with two outs. Potomac would score single runs in four straight innings from the third to the sixth to overcome a (*surprise*) 1-0 first-inning deficit and then again in the eighth for the insurance run.
The P-Nat ‘pen did its best to keep the game interesting. Dean Weaver was greeted with a hard single to center with two outs and a runner on in the sixth, but got out of the inning with no further damage. He would then put on two runners in the seventh before Marcos Frias would come on with two outs in the seventh to get a flyball to center. Frias would give up two hits to the first three batters of the eighth before striking out the last two he faced. Rob Wort would put two runners on via the plunk (just wild) but got the three outs he needed to earn the save.
Combined, the three relievers would put on seven runners of their own and strand eight altogether. Unlike the two-out hitting, this smells more like luck, the kind that sandlot players would bark things like “I’m surprised you’re not walking funny with that horseshoe up your [hind quarters].”
Tom Gorzelanny is scheduled to make a rehab appearance tomorrow, with Cameron Selik (the displaced starter) most likely the first reliever to pitch against the Southern Division-leading Myrtle Beach Pelicans, who will send Justin Grimm to the mound, hoping for a very, very long outing as they come off a Sunday afternoon/evening game that is still in progress as of this writing (bottom of the 20th) in Kinston, NC.