Wilmington, DE - The Wilmington Blue Rocks (37-31) continued their dominance on the diamond as they blanked the Salem Red Sox (40-27) 7-0 Friday night at Frawley Stadium. RHP Scott Blewett earned the win and spun six scoreless innings, allowed just two hits and tied a career-high with 10 strikeouts. Offensively, eight different hitters picked up a hit with Anderson Miller leading the way with three hits, falling a home run shy of the cycle. The Rocks have now outscored their opponents 26-1 during an impressive 35.2 scoreless innings streak.
The Rocks offense again scored early against Salem, plating a pair of runs in the second inning thanks to a run-scoring double from Wander Franco and a throwing error by Salem's first baseman Josh Ockimey to plate Franco all the way from second base to give the Blue Crew a 2-0 lead. In the third, Wilmington struck for a trio of runs highlighted by RBI hits from Chris DeVito and Franco along with a wild pitch to give the local nine offense a commanding 5-0 lead.
In the bottom of the fourth, Anderson Miller padded the lead with an RBI double before Kort Peterson belted his first-career Class-A Advanced home run with an opposite-field solo blast to give the Rocks the 7-0 lead they would go on to win by.
Blewett turned in the third straight dominant performance by a Wilmington starter and worked six scoreless frames, allowed just three hits and tied a career-high with 10 punch outs. Left-hander Matt Tenuta finished the final three innings, also in dominant fashion, notching the three inning save while striking out six batters.
Wilmington continues its final series of the first half on Saturday, June 17 against Salem at 7:05 p.m. with RHP Andres Machado (2-6, 5.87 ERA) getting the start for the Rocks. Salem will counter with LHP Dedgar Jimenez (8-1, 3.27 ERA). Fans can listen to the game as Matt Janus and Cory Nidoh will have the call on 89.7 WGLS-FM.
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With the shutout win, the Rocks have now tossed their ninth shutout of the season, making it the third straight game the Rocks have not allowed a run. In fact, the Blue Rocks pitching staff has not surrendered a run since the first inning of the doubleheader against Lynchburg back on Tuesday, June 13. Offensively during that stretch, the Rocks have outscored both Lynchburg and Salem 26-1 and have posted double-digit hits in three straight games.
The Blue Rocks have been on cycle watch over the last two games. Anderson Miller knocked out three of the four hits needed in his first three at-bats in Friday night's win, falling a home run shy of the cycle. On Thursday night, Chris DeVito, who has hit the only cycle in Class-A Advanced so far this season, fell a home run shy as well of completing his second cycle of the month. Travis Maezes drove in a career-high five runs in the Rocks' win Thursday night and needed just a triple to try and complete the offensive feat.
The starting pitching has been great during the scoreless stretch. A.J. Puckett worked 6.1 scoreless innings on Wednesday while Cristian Castillo stifled Salem Thursday night with a season-high eight innings pitched without yielding a run. Blewett followed it up with six dominant innings of work and tied his career-high in strikeouts with 10. The arms of Yunior Marte , who made a spot start in game two of the doubleheader in Lynchburg on Tuesday, Richard Lovelady , Jacob Bodner and Matt Tenuta all have come out of the pen and have done exceptional to keep the streak intact.
THEY SAID IT: JAMIE QUIRK, MANAGER
"Well three shutouts in a row, that's pretty awesome. You don't see that very often. You know how I feel about starting pitching. They set the tone every single day. Scott Blewett came out (Friday) and dominated from the get go; he was aggressive, came after them, made pitches when he needed too. Then Matt Tenuta was absolutely perfect. They are all feeding off each other, that's the key. No one wants to be that guy to give up a run. They are out there competing. The offense is taking advantage of situations. We are getting key hits up and down the lineup. You look up and down the lineup and they are all hitting, driving in runs, doing a great job. Seven, eight, and nine contributing just like (Thursday night), that takes a big load off the other guys.
"(On if the 35.2 scoreless innings pitched or the offense has been more impressive) I am on the pitching side because if they don't score you can't loss. The pitchers set the tone every day and the offense is pitching in. I don't say one is more important than the other, you have to have both to have a good year and win games. Both sides of the ball, they are coming out ready to play, and the defense (is great too). Look who caught all three games. One catcher caught three straight shutouts. Chase Vallot is doing a great job back there following the game plan. It is always going to be the starting pitching setting the tone. You don't have to play catch up and you can add on and we have been doing all that.
"The way we are playing defense, we don't give extra outs. (Salem's) error at first base hurt, it gave us a run and kept the (second) inning going. We are playing very good defense, getting the outs we are supposed to get. It keeps the pitcher's pitch count down too. When you don't play good defense, a lot of things add up. You have to make extra pitches and you don't go as deep into the game. I credit all phases of the game, obviously pitching and offense but our defense has been great.
"We have been (limiting our strikeouts) for a while, which is great. It has been addressed throughout the organization actually. April we started off slow but really the month of May and so far in June we have really cut back on our strikeouts. You look up and down the lineup, guys who are striking out a lot, we have emphasized getting the ball in play. Good things happen when you put the ball in play. You force the defense to make a play, you move runners, make productive outs, all those things. It's been emphasized and they are taking it to heart and realizing, you have to put the ball in play.
"We come out and we emphasize every single day just play the game that is in front of you. If you have three days off, you have three days off. We had our chances, we fell a little short, but we are playing very good baseball. I'm not worried about the (All-Star) break because I know we will show up (in the second half). Who knows what will happen in the second half but I know we will be ready. This game is so mental; it comes at you every day. I love the way mentally we are going about it. I'm not even worried about the break, I am worried about tomorrow (Saturday), that's all I think about now is (Saturday's) game. Get them ready, come out and play and go from there."
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