NILES, OH - Doubledays RHP Jefry Rodriguez didn't have his best stuff tonight. But with this 6'5" righthander, you don't need your best stuff to dominate.
Rodriguez allowed just one hit over five innings, relievers Deibi Yrizarri (1-0) and Mario Sanchez worked a combined four perfect frames, and the Doubledays got just enough offense to top the Mahoning Valley Scrappers, 2-1, in front of 5,492 fans at Eastwood Field. The win snapped a three-game losing streak.
Rodriguez, sent down after going 0-2 with a 6.88 ERA with Single-A Hagerstown, sat 93-94 and hit 96 mph with his fastball, baffling the Scrappers with an array of high and low heaters. His command was spotty throughout the outing; Rodriguez issued four walks and struck out just two. But, armed with that overpowering fastball, he only gave up one hit, a double to left by nine-hitter Ordimar Valdez. Rodriguez only allowed Valdez to score because of that spotty command; the Scrapper came in on a wild pitch with two out.
Yrizarri and Sanchez were even better. Neither pitcher allowed a baserunner, and the Doubledays retired the final 16 Scrappers overall. For Yrizarri, this outing was something of a reprieve. Coming off a disastrous debut in Batavia on Saturday, during which he allowed five runs and could not escape the eighth inning, the 19 year-old calmly set down the Scrappers' top six hitters in order, striking out one. Sanchez one-upped his 2013 DSL teammate, whiffing two while collecting his second save of the season.
Auburn's defense was spectacular in the one-hitter. The infield turned double plays in the fourth and fifth innings, first baseman Jose Marmolejos saved an extra base hit with a gorgeous dive to snare a hard-hit grounder, and Drew Vettleson made a terrific running catch in right field to end the game.
The Doubledays got their two runs the hard way. Jean Valdez led off the second inning with a double to left, and Cody Gunter singled him over to third. After Raudy Read struck out, Brenton Allen tapped a grounder to the left side that allowed Valdez, charging hard the whole way, to come in and score.
In the eighth, with the game tied 1-1, Garrett Gordon and Bryan Mejia singled and doubled, respectively, to set up second and third with no one out. Scrappers pitcher Dominic DeMasi (0-1), making his professional debut, proceeded to strike out Osvaldo Abreu and Vettleson. Mahoning Valley manager Ted Kubiak called for an intentional walk of lefty Marmolejos, bringing up the right-hand hitting Valdez. DeMasi threw the Doubledays' designated hitter four straight balls, and Gordon trotted home with the winning run.
The Doubledays and Scrappers play another on Wednesday night at Eastwood Field. Luis Torres (1-0, 0.00) makes his first start of the year against lefty Sean Brady (0-0, 11.25). First pitch is set for 7:05, with coverage on 98.1 FM and 1590 AM WAUB beginning at 6:50.