LANSING, Mich. - Denis Diaz tossed 5 2/3 innings of one-hit, one-run relief, but the Lansing Lugnuts (7-7) were shut out by the Bowling Green Hot Rods (7-6), 6-0, in the opener of a four-game series on Thursday night at Cooley Law School Stadium.
The Lugnuts have lost seven of ten games since opening the year with four straight wins against the Great Lakes Loons.
Starter Osman Gutierrez (Loss, 0-3) departed due to injury precaution in the top of the second inning with the Lugnuts trailing 2-0, one out, Hot Rods runners at first and second, and 1-0 count on batter Miles Mastrobuoni.
That brought out Diaz, added to the roster a day earlier with starter Patrick Murphy placed on the Disabled List, for his Midwest League debut. On his first pitch, he uncorked a wild pitch to move the runners up a base. Mastrobuoni brought in a run with a sacrifice fly. Jesus Sanchez followed with a two-run homer to right for a 5-0 Bowling Green lead.
And then Diaz found his rhythm.
The native of Tegucigalpa, Honduras, set down the next 13 Hot Rods, setting the side down in order in the third, fourth, fifth and sixth innings. A leadoff walk broke the spell in the seventh, but Diaz was unwavering. He finished the frame, and his outing, with a called strike three to Mastrobuoni - his seventh strikeout of the night.
The sparkling debut was wasted, however, because Bowling Green starter Brock Burke (Win, 2-0) combined with two relievers on an eight-hit shutout. Burke scattered six hits in five innings, Brian McAfee tossed zeroes for three frames, and Deivy Mendez escaped a bases-loaded, none-out situation in the bottom of the ninth.
In the loss, Nash Knight singled twice and drew a walk and Yeltsin Gudino added a pair of hits in four at-bats.
Left-hander Tayler Saucedo (0-0, 4.05) makes his second Lugnuts start of the season on Friday at 7:05 p.m., opposing Hot Rods left-hander Travis Ott (0-1, 8.10), with gates opening at 6 p.m. Tickets may be purchased at the Cooley Law School Stadium box office, by calling (517) 485-4500 or via lansinglugnuts.com.
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This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.