Strong pitching? Check.
Decent offense? Check.
Solid defense? Well, two out of three ain’t bad.
The Potomac Nationals closed out their seven-game homestand with a 4-3 mark and a 7-4 victory over the Wilmington Blue Rocks to earn a series split.
Trevor Holder pitched into the eighth inning for the second time in his last three starts and did not issue a walk while striking out six, tying a season high. The veteran righthander now leads the staff in wins and has the lowest ERA, WHIP, and FIP among the starting pitchers.
Donning their red alternates for good luck, the P-Nats posted a picket fence in the first three innings, scoring on a wild pitch (1st), two-out single by Kevin Keyes (2nd), and a solo HR by Rick Hague (3rd). They broke through with three in the fourth when Randolph Oduber smacked a triple into the LCF gap and
came in when the relay made its way into the Blue Rock dugout.
As the lede suggests, the defense was porous — three errors in the first five innings, which, if you’ll recall is even worse than it looks when you consider that most minor-league scorekeepers (read: I’ve seen this tendency elsewhere across multiple levels, not just the Pfitz) have a hazy idea as to what “ordinary effort” means in Rule 10.05(3).
Despite taking a line drive to the gut in the 5th, Holder would retire eight of the last nine batters he faced and was lifted with two outs in the eighth after throwing 106 pitches, 72 for strikes, and gave way to Adam Carr.
This time out, Carr looked more comfortable and much more like his old self — especially when he dialed up to 94 to strike out the first batter he faced (Wilmington cleanup hitter Brett Eibner). The 28-year-old then set down the Blue Rocks in order for his first save of the 2012 season.
Potomac now hits the road for a pair of three-game series against the Salem Red Sox and the Carolina Mudcats before returning home for the annual Fourth of July festivities (you know, in case you hadn’t heard ;-).