LOUISVILLE, Ky. - His seven shutout innings were pretty good last week. His nine shutout innings were even better on Saturday night. Bats starter Sam LeCure tossed a complete-game shutout and just missed out on history as Louisville defeated Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, 5-0. After retiring the first 12 batters he faced and working six perfect innings through seven, LeCure headed back to the mound in the eighth working on a no hitter.
LeCure (W, 5-2, 2.55) got Yankee catcher Jesus Montero to fly out to right field for the first out of the inning. As he did for most of the night, LeCure jumped ahead of the next Yankee batter by firing two strikes to first baseman Chad Huffman. On the next delivery, behind in the count 0-2, Huffman lined the pitch right back up the middle, past the out-stretched arm of Chris Valaika, for a solid single. The only well hit ball of the night for the visitors.
With the no-no gone, LeCure focused on his string of 15.2 consecutive scoreless innings thrown by striking out Reid Gorecki and forcing Reegie Corona to ground out weakly at second to end the frame. LeCure preserved the shutout and brought the 11,772 fans at Louisville Slugger Field to their feet as he walked off the mound. LeCure needed just 11 pitches to retire the Yankees in order in the ninth for the complete game.
After tossing seven scoreless innings five days earlier at Rochester, the Bats' right-hander found a similar groove early. Tossing four perfect innings to start, LeCure opened the fifth with a full-count walk to Jon Weber. On the next pitch, Jesus Montero grounded into a 5-4-3 double play to erase Weber and any threat by Yankees.
The Bats' supported their starter early at the plate with a pair of runs in the second. Left fielder Drew Sutton reached on an infield hit followed by a Chris Valaika double off the wall in right field. With a pair of runners in scoring position, Corky Miller drove home Sutton with a sharp ground out to third. Five pitches later, Wilkin Castillo came through with a two-out single through the hole at second to send home Valaika for a 2-0 lead.
Back-to-back doubles by Todd Frazier and Michael Griffin ignited a three-run fifth inning for the Bats. After Wilkin Castillo reached on a fielding error by the Yankee shortstop, Frazier lined a shot off the wall in right field. Yankee right fielder Jon Weber bobbled the ball in the corner, allowing Castillo to come around to score. Griffin then sent the first pitch he saw to the alley in left-center field to plate Frazier. With the third straight hit in the inning, Zack Cozart singled home Griffin to give Louisville a comfortable 5-run margin.
The five runs were all charged to Scranton/Wilkes-Barre starter Dustin Moseley (L, 1-2, 4.72) who worked six innings, allowing nine hits on four earned runs and a walk.
Four different Bats hitters had multiple hits on the night including Drew Sutton who went 2-for-4 at the plate, extending his hitting streak to five games.
A fourth-round pick of the Reds in 2005, LeCure became the first Bats pitcher to throw a complete game one hitter since Lee Tunnell achieved the mark on June 21, 1988 against Maine. When his night was done, LeCure had thrown 99 pitches, 67 for strikes, allowing two walks and striking out five.
Cementing himself as the Bats go-to starter this season with his club-leading fifth win, LeCure completed his seventh straight start working at least six innings including two outings registering at least eight innings.
The Bats will play seven games at Louisville Slugger Field over the next eight days including Sunday afternoon. LHP Travis Wood (1-4, 4.47) will be on the mound for Louisville. Scranton/Wilkes-Barre will call on RHP Jason Hirsh (4-4, 3.40). First pitch for game two of the four-game series is set for 2:05 p.m.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.