BURLINGTON, IA - The Great Lakes Loons continued their winning ways on Wednesday night, starting a six-game road trip with a 1-0 win over the Burlington Bees in the opener of a three-game series at Community Field in Burlington, Iowa. It was the Loons fifth straight win, with the last four coming over the two best teams by record in the Midwest League's Western Division (Kane County and Burlington).
Joey Curletta drove in the game's only run in the sixth inning, plating Jesmuel Valentin with a two-out single to left field off Bees starter Yency Almonte. It was Almonte's last pitch of the ballgame, and the last of the Loons three hits in the contest off Burlington pitching.
The Loons pitchers dueled with Burlington step for step throughout the game, with starter Greg Harris matching Almonte zero for zero through five innings. Harris, in his first start since July 11, held Burlington hitless through the first 4 2/3 innings before back-to-back singles brought the first sign of trouble in the game. Harris escaped by getting a line drive to short to end the fifth inning and keep the game scoreless.
After Curletta gave the Loons the lead, relievers Kyle Hooper, Michael Johnson and Jacob Rhame shut down the Bees over the final four innings. Johnson struck out four in 1 2/3 perfect innings, and Jacob Rhame got the final five outs for his fourth save of the season. Harris improved to 7-6 on the year with the victory.
Almonte (2-2) was the tough-luck loser for Burlington, allowing the only run of the game on three hits in 5 2/3 innings with five strikeouts. He walked only one, but it was costly, as his free pass issued to Valentin produced the run on Curletta's single.
The three-game continues with right-hander Brandon Martinez (1-5, 4.60 ERA) expected to return from the disabled list to make the start for the Loons in Burlington tomorrow night. Righty Daniel Hurtado (1-0, 1.77) will start for the Bees. Game time is 7:30 EDT in eastern Iowa, with coverage starting at 7 p.m. on ESPN 100.9 FM.
The Great Lakes Loons are an eighth-year Single-A partner of the Los Angeles Dodgers. For tickets and more information about the Loons, visit Loons.com, or call 989-837-BALL.