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Rome's Sims rebounds with strong start
Braves' No. 3 prospect fans six over six scoreless innings
07/23/2013 5:56 PM ET
Rome's Lucas Sims is holding South Atlantic League hitters to a .196 average.
Rome's Lucas Sims is holding South Atlantic League hitters to a .196 average. (Rome Braves)

Rain delayed Lucas Sims' start by an hour on Tuesday afternoon, but it didn't dent his focus.

Sims, a first-round pick by the Braves in 2012 and their No. 3 prospect, shook off a pair of rough outings to toss six scoreless frames in Rome's 5-3 win over visiting Lakewood.

"I worked out some kinks with my mechanics this week, so I spent the delay just focusing on what I needed to do when I got out there," he said.

The 19-year-old right-hander improved to 5-4 with the win, striking out six and walking a pair. All four of the hits the BlueClaws mustered off Sims were singles.

"The plan was pretty simple -- keep the ball down, get ahead of hitters," Sims said. "The defense made some great plays to help keep them off the board."

Sims had to be good working from the stretch, as Lakewood's leadoff hitter reached base in each of the first three frames. All three runners made outs on the base paths, however -- Brian Pointer and Carlos Tocci were thrown out trying to steal in the first and third, respectively, while Willie Carmona was ruled out due to batter Art Charles interfering with Rome catcher Tyler Tewell while striking out.

"I don't want to be too quick to the plate, but I try to keep it simple. Tyler made some great throws," Sims said.

Sims worked around a one-out single by Angelo Mora in the fourth and retired the side in order in the fifth before running into a spot of trouble in his final frame. Lakewood's Alejandro Villalobos and Chace Numata opened the sixth with back-to-back singles, but Sims escaped the jam by getting a flyout and a pair of groundouts to escape unscathed.

Sims matched a career-high by going six innings for the third time. He is holding South Atlantic League hitters to a .196 batting average and just two home runs in 77 1/3 innings this season.

Rome's hitters gave Sims a comfortable lead to work with, scoring a pair of runs in the first, two more in the third and a fifth run in the fourth. The R-Braves got hits from eight of nine batters for the second straight game.

Left fielder Daniel Carroll led the charge, going 2-for-3 with a double and two RBIs. Leadoff man Kyle Wren, the Braves' eighth-round pick out of Georgia Tech in last month's Draft, singled in the ninth to extend his hitting streak to seven games. Wren has hits in all but one of his 16 games with Rome and is batting .369/.414/.523 with 13 stolen bases in as many attempts.

The BlueClaws were down to their final out before getting on the board in the ninth. Charles -- who had fanned in each of his first three at-bats -- blasted a three-run homer to right field. It was Charles' 10th long ball of the season; no other BlueClaw has hit more than five.

Jeremy Fitzgerald worked a perfect seventh for the Braves. After a 1-2-3 eighth, Alex Wilson gave up three runs on two hits and a walk in the ninth inning.

Lakewood starter Jonathan Musser (1-6) took the loss, allowing five runs on six hits and four walks in 3 2/3 innings. The right-hander has dropped six straight decisions since winning his season debut on May 20. Musser and three BlueClaws relievers combined to walk eight batters in the game, Lakewood's third straight defeat.

John Parker is an editor for MiLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.
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