SALISBURY, MD - Some things can't be explained. Alex Murphy's two-run homer in the bottom of the sixth inning lifted the Shorebirds to a 5-4 win in improbable fashion on Friday, May 13 when a thick, dense fog settled across the outfield at Arthur W. Perdue Stadium. The game was called after a 35-minute delay with two outs in the home half of the sixth inning.
A mounting fog interfered with Stone Garrett's ability to see Gerrion Grim's two out double to left field in the sixth, igniting a discussion between Grasshoppers' manager Kevin Randel and umpires Justin Anderson and Mike Carroll. Garrett's body language clearly showed he was perturbed when Grim's double sailed over his head in left field. Just over a half hour later, Grim's double proved to be the last play in the game.
After allowing 10 runs in 2.2 innings during his last start, Shorebirds (19-14) starting pitcher Francisco Jimenez (2-2) came out firing bullets in the first inning. 10 of his 11 pitches in the first frame were strikes and he sent down the Grasshoppers in order.
After surrendering the game's first run to their opposition in nine consecutive contests, the Shorebirds finally scored first with a pair of first inning runs. Ryan Mountcastle, who finished the game 1-3, singled sharply through the middle with one out. While DJ Stewart was batting, Mountcastle was picked off first base, but reached safely at second when shortstop Anfernee Seymour mishandled first baseman Josh Naylor's throw. After a Stewart ground out moved Mountcastle to third base, Yermin Mercedes doubled him home to put Delmarva ahead 1-0. The 'Birds padded their lead when Mercedes advanced on a pair of wild pitches during Alex Murphy's at bat.
Greensboro (11-23) got to Jimenez in the top of the second on Isael Soto's long solo home run to right-center, his first of the year. Then the Grasshoppers took a 4-2 lead in a three run third inning. Garrett collected two RBI on a double to left-center, and he later scored on Angel Reyes' flare to center field.
The Shorebirds plated their third unearned run of the night in the bottom of the fourth. Natanael Delgado hit a one out single to left field and reached safely at second base when Ricardo Andujar grounded a ball to second baseman Justin Twine. Twine had a chance to turn a double play, but he booted the ball and both runners reached safely. After Gerrion Grim struck out, an ordinary 2-1 pitch to Drew Turbin became anything but routine. Everyone on the field seemed to forget the situation, including Delgado, who halfheartedly broke for third base. Catcher Roy Morales saw Delgado in no-mans land between bases, but he double-clutched on his throw to third when Rony Cabrera didn't break for the bag. Morales sailed his throw down the left field line, scoring Delgado to cut into the Greensboro lead at 4-3.
Shortly thereafter, things got spooky in the sixth. The heavy fog began growing in both corner outfield spots, but didn't begin playing a decisive role until after Mercedes walked a Murphy blasted his team-leading third home run of the year to open the inning. Once Grim doubled to left field, the umpires and managers decided the game shouldn't continue until the fog lifted. About 15 minutes into the delay, conditions seemed to be improving. But it became clear quickly afterwards with heavy fog billowing into the stadium that play couldn't resume. As fans left the ballpark, the entire stadium was covered in a cloud. Apparently, Friday the 13th is a fortuitous day for the Shorebirds.
The Shorebirds give the baseball to Brian Gonzalez (3-0, 2.48) tomorrow night in the third game of the series. First pitch is set for 7:05 pm. Brendan Gulick will have the broadcast live on Fox Sports AM 960 and online at theshorebrids.com.