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De Los Santos holds Hickory hitless
05/23/2007 12:07 AM ET
Because he's a native of the Domincan Republic and hasn't been pitching in the United States very long, Faustino De Los Santos of the Kannapolis Intimidators has some difficulty communicating with his coaches.

Yet after tossing seven hitless innings in Tuesday's 13-4 spanking of the Hickory Crawdads, the only word the Intimidators coaching staff needed translated was "wow."

De Los Santos (3-1) retired the first eight batters hitters and 19 of 21 en route to his second straight victory. He struck out seven and walked one, lowering his ERA to 1.73 in nine outings.

"He has a great time playing," Kannapolis pitching coach Larry Owens said. "It's what he loves to do."

De Los Santos' fastball averages between 91-94 mph, and he often maintains that speed late in games. Owens said the 21-year-old right-hander, who throws a sinking fastball and slurve and is working on a changeup, averaged 94 throughout his final frame Tuesday.

Over 41 2/3 innings, De Los Santos has allowed only 16 hits with 45 strikeouts. But he's also issued 21 walks.

"His stuff is always good. With him, it's just a matter of command," explained Owens.

After De Los Santos exited, Noe Rodriguez retired the first batter he faced in the eighth before Cameron Blair lined a single into right field for the Crawdads' first hit.

That scene at Fieldcrest Cannon Stadium was a familiar one, just from the opposite side. On Monday, Hickory starter Mike Crotta held the Intimidators hitless through 7 1/3 frames before Kannapolis rallied for a 5-3 win.

This time, the outcome was never in doubt as the Intimidators (23-22) scored seven times against Crawdads starter Bradley Clapp (3-6), who lasted only three innings and surrendered nine hits and a walk with four strikeouts.

Lee Cruz and Francisco Hernandez belted three-run homers, while Archie Gilbert and Scott Madsen drove in two runs apiece.

Rodriguez lost Kannapolis' shutout bid when he allowed four runs on four hits and a walk in the eighth.

Angel Gonzalez delivered a two-run single for Hickory (16-26) and Jonel Pacheco added an RBI base hit, with the Crawdads plating another run on Rodriguez's wild pitch.

This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.