A dream start quickly turned into a nightmare for Bowie Baysox starting pitcher Ryohei Tanaka, who was perfect through the first three innings against the Erie SeaWolves but was hammered for seven runs on six hits in the fourth inning as the Baysox went on to lose 8-3.
Tanaka started by retiring the SeaWolves lineup in order with four strikeouts, but Erie had him figured out when he went through the order a second time in the fourth inning, which saw all nine batters take a turn at the plate.
After second baseman Alden Carrithers lined out to shortstop Carlos Rojas, for Tanaka's 10th straight out, Justin Henry broke up the no-hitter with a triple to center field. Outfielder Andy Dirks plated him with an infield single for the game's opening run. Designated hitter Rawley Bishop moved Dirks to second with a bloop single to right field before an over-the-wall double by first baseman Michael Bertram plated Dirks and left runners on second and third. Tanaka walked outfielder Kody Kaiser to load the bases, and got ahead in the count against left fielder Deik Scram, before Scram smashed the ball over the right field wall for a grand slam that put Erie ahead 6-0. It was the third grand slam hit against the Baysox this season.
Tanaka recorded the second out on a fly ball to center field before third baseman Bryan Pounds tacked on another run with a home run to left field, giving the SeaWolves a seven-run advantage.
Baysox Manager Brad Komminsk stuck with Tanaka in spite of the big inning, and the Japanese right-hander rewarded his confidence by lasting six innings, giving the Baysox bullpen much-needed respite after playing extra innings in their last two games. Tanaka had little trouble after the fourth inning, allowing just one runner on base after Bishop got aboard with a single in the fifth.
Bowie third baseman Brandon Waring hit a two-out double to right field in the top of the seventh inning and scored when catcher Caleb Joseph hit his eighth home run of the year to cut the deficit to 7-2.
Right-hander Eddie Gamboa replaced Tanaka to start the bottom of the seventh inning and was greeted harshly by Pounds, who led off the inning with a home run to left field that put the SeaWolves ahead 8-2.
Rojas led off the eighth inning with a double, and was plated by Eastern League All-Star Tyler Henson, who hit a two-out single to left field. Right fielder Joel Guzman continued the nascent rally with a single to shortstop that put Henson on second base. The Baysox caught a lucky break when first baseman Robbie Widlansky took a swing for his third strike on a ball that eluded Erie catcher Andy Bouchie and careened into the backstop, as the runners advanced and Widlansky sprinted to first base.
Waring, one of the Baysox best power hitters with 13 home runs, came up with the bases loaded and his team down 8-3. He could not deliver a game-changing hit, lining out harmlessly to center field to end the inning.
Gamboa retired the SeaWolves in order in the bottom of the eighth inning and Erie reliever Anthony Shawler did the same to the Baysox in the top of the ninth to end the game an 8-3 Erie win.
The defeat dropped the Baysox to 45-40 on the season, but they remain in second place, 8.5 games behind league leaders Altoona and 3.5 ahead of third place Akron.
After two more games in Erie, the Baysox return home Friday, July 9, for a four game set with the New York Yankees' Double-A affiliate, the Trenton Thunder. That series features fireworks and a comedy and magic show for kids by The Great Zucchini on Saturday, July 10, and Superhero Night on Sunday, July 11, with kids' favorite superheroes in costume for a meet-and-greet and autographs.
Think Outside The Box with the Baysox in 2010. The Baysox 18th season as the class Double-A affiliate of the Baltimore Orioles is underway. Catch all the action in Natural Definition! Baysox full-season and partial-season ticket packages are available now at www.baysox.com or by calling the group sales department at (301) 464-4880.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.