PENSACOLA, Fla., - Little did Biloxi know that the first inning solo homer by Blake Allemand would be the last hit and last run the Shuckers would earn off Pensacola Blue Wahoos starter Deck McGuire in his seven innings of work.
Behind McGuire's right arm and right fielder Aristides Aquino's two-run homer, Pensacola defeated Biloxi, 5-1, Thursday in front of 4,000 at Blue Wahoos Stadium. The Blue Wahoos, whose game was delayed by rain Thursday for one hour, 40 minutes, leads the series, 2-1,
McGuire has now allowed six runs, five earned in 46 innings for a 0.98 ERA over his last seven starts since his June 24 outing against Chattanooga.
The 6-foot-6 former 2010 first round pick worked seven innings, allowing one run on one hit, gave up four walks and struck out three to improve his record to 9-7 with a 2.58 ERA.
Pensacola manager Pat Kelly said the 28-year-old minor league journeyman stepped up to take on the mantle of the Blue Wahoos with the loss of Tyler Mahle and Austin Ross.
"He just stepped up and took on the number one role on our staff," Kelly said. "There are a lot of scouts here and a lot of places you can pitch. The opportunity is there. He's opening some eyes."
McGuire credited his battery mate and defense for his performance Thursday.
For McGuire, who has bounced around with five organizations in his seven seasons, he just wants to keep playing somewhere and hopefully one day impress his toddler. With a 4.58 ERA for his minor league career, he is having one of his best seasons with Pensacola. At the end of this season, he will have pitched in all 30 Double-A ballparks.
"The most important thing for me is keeping a jersey, keeping a job," McGuire said. "I want to make (my son) proud. Hopefully, I'll play long enough that he'll understand, 'Hey, dad has a pretty great job'."
The Blue Wahoos lineup, which had only scored 12 runs over McGuire's last six starts, broke out for five runs for him Thursday.
Pensacola didn't wait to score on Biloxi. Pensacola right fielder Aristides Aquino went 65 at bats between his ninth and 10th home run but just five at bats until he blasted his team-leading 11th over the wall in left center. The two-run homer, his second in three games, in the second inning gave the Blue Wahoos a, 2-1, lead.
Kelly credited Aquino for continually trying to improve his swing. He worked with Cincinnati Reds roving instructors -- Hall of Famer Barry Larkin, former Red Eric Davis and Milt Thompson -- this year to make adjustments at the plate.
"He may be (frustrated) inside but he never shows it on the outside," said Kelly of the No. 6 prospect in the Reds organization who is batting .214 but leads the team with 11 homers and is tied for the lead with 41 RBIs. "He is one of the most confident kids I have ever seen."
Pensacola scored two more runs in the inning when shortstop Blake Trahan smacked a deep fly ball to the left center gap that both the left fielder and center fielder dived for but missed, allowing Pensacola catcher Joe Hudson to make it a, 3-1, game. Blue Wahoos center fielder Gabriel Guerrero hit a sizzling grounder into left field that drove in Trahan to put Pensacola ahead, 4-1.
Aquino, who was 3-4 and scored twice Thursday, also showed off his ability to slap a single to the opposite field when the Biloxi infield shifted left, playing him to pull the ball.
The 22-year-old then stole second and took third on the Biloxi catcher Jacob Nottingham's throwing error trying to nail him. Aquino scored on a wild pitch by Shuckers reliever Hiram Burgos to put Pensacola ahead, 5-1 in the third inning. Aquino did all that with two outs and Hudson at bat.
GAME NOTES The Pensacola Blue Wahoos play the fourth game of a five-game series against the Milwaukee Brewers Double-A affiliate Biloxi Shuckers at 6:35 p.m. Friday. The Shuckers are starting RHP Freddy Peralta (1-2, 2.76) against the Blue Wahoos RHP Jose Lopez (4-1, 3.17).
Because Pensacola scored five runs, Blue Wahoos fans can get 50 percent off online orders from Papa John's with the pass code WAHOOS.
The games are broadcast live on the Blue Wahoos flagship station 97.1 The Ticket. Listen for free at bluewahoos.com and by using the TuneIn Radio app on your mobile, desktop or home devices.
You can watch the home games live or tape delayed on Cox Sports Television Monday through Thursday on Channel 319. Friday, Saturday and Sunday games are broadcast live on BLAB-TV.
BIG FISH Right fielder Aristides Aquino was 3-4 with a two-run homer and two runs scored. He has 11 homers and 41 RBIs in his first Double-A season...Second baseman Josh VanMeter was 1-4, scored a run and hit his 24th double of the year...Shortstop Blake Trahan was 1-4 with a run scored and RBI...Center fielder Gabriel Guerrero was 1-4 with one RBI and made his sixth assist of the season when he threw out Biloxi first baseman Dustin DeMuth at third base.
Tickets to the 2017 playoffs are now on sale! Purchase tickets online at bluewahoos.com, visiting the Box Office or calling 850-934-8444. The Pensacola Blue Wahoos are the Double-A Affiliate of the Cincinnati Reds and a member of the Southern League. Follow the Pensacola Blue Wahoos at BlueWahoos.com, facebook.com/PensacolaBlueWahoos and twitter.com/BlueWahoosBBall.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.