Frederick fell behind early and were unable to recover Tuesday night, falling to Wilmington, 8-3, at Harry Grove Stadium.
The Keys have lost three of their last four and fell to 4-8 in the second half and 38-41 overall. The Blue Rocks are now 7-4 in the second half and 40-41 overall.
In a game that saw 20 strikeouts and 19 hits, neither starter pitched long enough to qualify for the win. Making his first start for the Keys, Julio Rodriguez, who was transferred from Double-A Bowie earlier in the day, allowed a leadoff double to start the game, but worked around it, stranding Justin Trapp at third.
Things wouldn't go as smoothly for Rodriguez in the second and third, when he allowed a combined four runs and two homers. Kenny Swab slugged a hanging breaking ball out of the park in the second and in the third, after a Rodriguez's throwing error on a sacrifice bunt allowed the Blue Rocks' second run to score, Dennis Raben launched a two-run homer down the right field line, putting Wilmington up 4-0.
The Keys, however, would give their starter some support in the fourth, and knock Wilmington's out of the game in the process. Frederick cut the Blue Rocks' lead in half, loading the bases with one out on a single, a walk and a hit by pitch, and plating runs on Jason Esposito's RBI single and Glynn Davis' RBI groundout. After Kellen Moen walked Brenden Webb with two outs, loading the bases again, he was pulled from the game in favor of Spencer Patton.
Patton got Sammie Starr to fly out to center to end the inning, keeping the score at 4-2. He pitched 3.1 innings, allowed a run on four hits and struck out seven Tuesday night, earning his fourth win of the season.
Moen pitched 3.2 innings, allowed three hits, walked three and gave up two runs, striking out one. Rodriguez wouldn't last much longer than Moen, only facing three batters in the fifth before being pulled.
After striking out Trapp to start the fifth, Rodriguez gave up a single to Alex McClure and walked Lane Adams. Jesse Beal then relieved him and struck out the first batter he faced, but Jared Schlehuber singled to right on an 0-2 pitch to put Wilmington ahead 5-2.
Rodriguez was charged with five runs, two earned, and allowed seven hits, two homers and a walk. He struck out six batters over 4.1 innings pitched.
The Keys drew themselves closer with a run the sixth, Brenden Webb hitting the third single of the inning to score Christian Walker, but Wilmington stretched their lead to 8-3 in the top of the eighth against Tommy Winegardner. A one-out single and double set the table for Tyler Chism, who drove in a run on a fielder's choice to second baseman Pena, who was playing in, when Jack Lopez beat his throw home. Ethan Chapman's doubled followed, giving Wilmington a three-run inning when Chism scored from first.
Beal pitched 2.2 scoreless innings for the Keys, striking out four, Winegardner allowed three runs on three hits and Zach Petersime pitched a scoreless ninth. Robinson Yambati pitched two scoreless innings to finish the game for the Blue Rocks.
The only Key to tally more than one hit was Esposito who went 3-for-4 with an RBI. Frederick went without an extra-base hit while Wilmington hit six. McClure, Swab and Schlehuber each had two hits and Chapman had three, driving in two runs.
The Keys will try to avoid a sweep tomorrow at 6 p.m. The Keys start left-hander Tim Berry and Blue Rocks southpaw Sam Selman. For tickets, purchase online at FrederickKeys.com, by phone at 301-815-9939 or at the box office at Harry Grove Stadium.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.