The Frederick Keys had struggled to string together hits against Lynchburg starter David Peterson. In two pitches, Nicky Delmonico and Brenden Webb remedied that, spurring the Keys to a 6-4 win on Monday night.
Following Michael Ohlman's nine-pitch at-bat that ended in a walk, Delmonico slugged the first pitch he saw in the bottom of the fourth for a long three-run home run down the right field line, putting the Keys (6-4) ahead 3-1. Webb then stepped into Delmonico's footprints in the left-handed batter's box and took Peterson's first offering out of the ballpark to right-center, hitting back-to-back blasts on back-to-back pitches with Delmonico.
"He just left it up and my hands worked and luckily I didn't pull it foul," said Delmonico of his first homer of the year.
On Webb following up with a long ball of his own, Delmonico added: "Yeah, he does that."
Teammates for most of the season with Class-A Delmarva in 2012, Webb and Delmonico tended to build on one another's homers, they said. And they're happy to continue the tradition in Frederick.
"Nicky and I, we tend to have a history of going like that," said Webb, who has two home runs on the year. "If it's not in the next at-bat, it's in the same game. If he goes yard, I go yard."
The Keys hit three homers Monday night, Zane Chavez hitting the final blast in the bottom of the sixth after pinch-hitting for catcher Ohlman mid-at bat after he suffered an apparent shoulder injury while dodging an errant pitch from Caleb Brewer. Chavez entered the game with a 1-1 count against him and hit a solo shot - his first minor league home run - on a 3-2 pitch off the wall behind the right-center field fence to lead off the inning and put Frederick up 5-2.
That lead would be enough for Keys starter Eduardo Rodriguez and the Keys bullpen. Rodriguez (1-1) went six innings, struck out eight batters, allowed two runs, both earned, two hits and walked two, earning his first victory of the season in front of 1,910 at Harry Grove Stadium.
"He did a good job for us tonight," said Keys manager Ryan Minor. "He was getting ahead of hitters early and he threw his secondary pitches for strikes. ... He did a nice job of doing damage control when he had runners on and, you know, what can you say? Eddy pitched well."
The Keys added their sixth and final run after Chavez's homer in the sixth inning on Brewer's wild pitch with two outs and the bases loaded, scoring Delmonico, who reached on an error, from third.
Eric Beaulac relieved Rodriguez in the seventh pitched two scoreless frames, striking out four in the process. Marcel Prado pitched the ninth inning for Frederick. Two walks, a hit and an error led to two runs, one earned, but he fanned Lynchburg's power-hitting first baseman William Beckwith - represented the go-ahead run - to end the game.
"He didn't give in," said Minor of Prado, who allowed his first runs of the season. "He made some good pitches when it counted and he was able to have good enough stuff to get them out. That's all we ask for, is to be ahead by one run at the end of the night."
Peterson (0-1) took the loss for Lynchburg (6-4), allowing four runs, all earned, on six hits and a walk in four innings. Brewer gave up two runs in 2.1 innings and Ronan Pacheco recorded the final five outs for the Hillcats in perfect fashion.
The Hillcats scored first Monday, posting a run on Elmer Reyes' two-out RBI single. Reyes drove in David Rohm, who worked an 11-pitch walk, fouling off five straight pitches after falling into a 1-2 hole, and advanced to second on a groundout to second baseman Jerome Pena. They added another run in the top of the sixth on Robby Hefflinger's RBI double.
Sammie Starr was the only Key to have a multi-hit game, going 2-for-4 on a pair of singles. Webb, Delmonico, and Chavez recorded the Keys' three extra-base hits and RBIs Monday night. Delmonico finished 1-for-4 with two runs, a homer, 3 RBIs and two errors in the field. Reyes went 2-for-4 with an RBI for Lynchburg.
The Keys, winners of three of their last four, resume play Tuesday at 7 p.m. at Harry Grove Stadium. Tyler Wilson will take the mound for Frederick against Lynchburg's Navery Moore. For tickets, visit the Keys box office, purchase via phone at 301-815-9939 or order online at frederickkeys.com.