The Bowie Baysox defeated the New Britain Rock Cats 6-3 Sunday afternoon, clinching the four-game series and finishing the eight game season series with a 6-2 record. The Baysox move to 71-63 on the year, but remain 1.5 games behind Harrisburg for second place and the final playoff spot in the Eastern League's Western Division, with eight games remaining.
Starting pitcher Ryohei Tanaka earned his first win as a starter since a June 26 victory at Altoona. Tanaka gave up three runs, one earned, on seven hits through 5.0 innings as he struck out two batters and walked none. Josh Perrault, left-hander Chad Thall, Brandon Cooney and Jose Diaz combined to provide a major lift from the bullpen, as the Rock Cats were shut out and recorded just two hits over the final 4.0 innings.
New Britain started the scoring in the bottom of the first inning. Juan Portes hit a one-out single to left field and moved to second base on first baseman Chris Parmelee's single to right field. Right fielder Evan Bigley hit a grounder to Tanaka, who threw the ball away when he tried to get the out at first base, allowing Portes to score the opening run from second base as Parmelee took third. Second baseman Steve Singleton hit a sacrifice fly out to left field that gave Parmelee time to tag up and score for a 2-0 lead.
In the top of the third inning, the Baysox started a rally that would carry them through the day. Designated hitter Caleb Joseph drew a leadoff walk and was joined by right fielder Jonathan Tucker on a walk two batters later. Center fielder Xavier Avery then connected on a three-run home run over the wall in right field, giving Bowie a 3-2 lead. It was the third home for the 20-year-old speedster since he was promoted to Double-A on Aug. 10.
The rally kept rolling in the top of the fourth inning. First baseman Brandon Waring led off with a bunt single, and moved to second base on catcher Steve Lerud's single to right field. Both runners advanced on a passed ball before Joseph drew a walk that loaded the bases with no outs. Shortstop Greg Miclat hit an RBI single to rotate the runners as Waring scored and Lerud scored when Tucker grounded into a fielder's choice and Miclat was thrown out at second base. Avery was retired on a sacrifice fly to center field that plated Joseph for a 6-2 Baysox lead.
The Baysox nearly broke the game wide open in the fifth inning, loading the bases with no outs before two popouts and a fly out ended the inning. New Britain shaved a run off the lead in the bottom half of the inning when Bigley hit a solo home run to left field, leaving the Baysox ahead 6-3.
Perrault entered in the bottom of the sixth inning and pitched one and two-thirds innings, allowing just a bunt single. Thall replaced him with two outs in the bottom of the seventh inning and walked Parmelee and gave up a single to Bigley before he closed out the inning.
Cooney cruised through the eighth inning, walking a batter while striking out two before hanging another zero on the board. Jose Diaz took over to close out the game, and quickly worked his way into trouble. Ben Revere walked to lead off, and Diaz issued another free pass to Portes. The potentially problematic inning was defused in short order, though, starting with Parmelee's grounder to Miclat, who wisely tossed the ball to third base to retire the lead runner, Revere. Diaz set Bigley down swinging and Singleton grounded out to first base to end the game. It was the second save in four days for Diaz, who pitched 3.0 hitless shutout innings on the road trip to New Britain.
The Baysox return to Bowie for their final home stand of the regular season, with four games against the division-leading Altoona Curve beginning Monday, Aug. 30, at 7:05 p.m. The Baysox final regular-season home game is Thursday, Sept. 2, and features the Festa d'Italia Beer Dinner, with an Italian-themed buffet-style meal in the Diamond View Restaurant with a generous selection of beers. Tickets for the dinner are $41 per person, or $37 for season ticket holders, and can be purchased by contacting Dana DeFilippo at (301) 464-4871 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Tickets must be ordered by 3 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 31. Absolutely no tickets will be sold after the deadline.
Think Outside The Box with the Baysox in 2010. The Baysox 18th season as the class Double-A affiliate of the Baltimore Orioles is nearly over. 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.