BIG BATS AND BAEZ DELIVER BLOW OUT IN PITTSBURG 

Fernando Wins 5th, Backed With 15 Runs and 17 Hits

Former Cleveland great and Giants President during the late 1980’s, Al Rosen, when asked his definition of a perfect ballgame, answered that “it’s when your team scores 10 in the first and pulls away from there.”  In Pittsburg Sunday, the Pacifics nearly achieved that goal by scoring early and often and then pulling away with some late inning runs as well. 

To make matters worse for the struggling Diamonds (16-18, 9 games behind San Rafael), they got to experience the Pacific Association’s version of “Fernando-mania”, a stellar performance by Fernando Baez (5-1, 3.35), who allowed no runs and only 4 hits over his 5 1/3 innings of 99 labored pitches, bravely battling through a stiff neck. 

Jordan Brink (1-3, 5.87 ERA), was the first brave soul to face a hungry Pacifics lineup that uncharacteristically suffered an off-day at the plate the previous night. 

Right off the bat, so to speak, DonAndre Clark led off with an infield single and Rando Moreno followed with a walk, setting the table for Javion Randle who lined a base hit to score Clark and give the Pacifics a 1-0 lead. With 2 outs and men at first and second, veteran Jake Taylor lined a base hit up the middle to extend the lead to 2-0. 

In retrospect, Brink should have felt fortunate to be down only by 2, but his afternoon would quickly worsen. With 2 outs in the second inning, Clark reached on a fielder’s choice and Moreno singled, once again putting the speedy top of the order on base ahead of the very productive middle of the order. 

Basketball’s Karl Malone was called “The Mailman” because he always delivered, and so the Pacifics “Mailman”, Randle, delivered again with a 3-run fence-scraping homerun to straight away left that was helped just enough by the cross breeze to up the Pacifics lead to 5-0. 

Randle still had letters in the pouch as he drew a walk with 1 out in the 4th, setting up Brent Gillespie’s mammoth 2-run homerun to right center field, his 7th of the year, padding the lead to 7-0. 

Back-to-back 1-out singles in the top of the 5th put runners at first and third, setting the table again for Randle. Though finally retired on a groundball, it was nonetheless a productive out, bringing home Clark to grow the lead to a very comfortable 8-0. 

Due to the stiff neck, Baez was noticeably uncomfortable on the mound. His usual 93mph fastball regularly sat at 85-87mph, but his control was noticeably sharper than other starts, walking only 1 and striking out 4 on his way to his league-tying 5th win.

The Pacifics continued to pull away in the top of the 7th inning. Third Diamonds pitcher Dylan Hecht may have driven the stake into his own team’s heart by walking 4 in a row, producing for the Pacifics a run without benefit of a hit, increasing the score to blow-out proportions at 9-0. 

Hecht was lifted for the first of 2 position players to pitch, obviously taking one for the team, catcher Chad Highberger.

Highberger walked  Gillespie, the 5th walk in a row, to drive in the 10th run. 

Kavanaugh gave Jake Taylor the rest of the afternoon off, allowing Ricky Gingras, who simply adores hitting at Winter Chevrolet Stadium, to get some AB’s.  Gingras proved that his love was not in vain, crushing a grand slam off the scoreboard in right center, inflating the lead to a laughable 14-0. 

Mitch Williams (4.74 ERA), came in for some mop-up work. After breezing through the last 2 outs of the 6th, he allowed 2 runs in the bottom of the 7th inning on an RBI double to Yuki Yasuda and a sacrifice fly from Highberger, putting Pittsburg on the board at 14-2. 

Randle, though, wasn’t finished delivering the mail. In the top of the 8th inning the league’s leading hitter (.414) capped off a 7 RBI day with another RBI groundout to score Moreno, who, no slouch himself, scored 4 times and collected 3 hits, increasing the lopsided lead to 15-2.

Brandon Warner (1-0, 7.56 ERA) worked a clean 8th inning but collapsed in the 9th, allowing 6 runs on 6 hits, but the damage was inconsequential as the Pacifics coasted to a 15-8 win. 

All in all, the Pacifics offense exploded for 15 runs on 17 hits.  Moreno (.291) and catcher Mark Lindsay (.328) had 3 hits apiece while Clark (.365), Randle and Gillespie (.325) collected 2 each.

The Pacifics are now 25-9 overall, 4 games ahead of Sonoma and 5 ahead of Vallejo with a much-needed day off on Monday. 

The Pacifics are back at Albert Park on Tuesday and Wednesday to welcome in the Pittsburg Diamonds, first pitch each night is at 7:05.  On Tuesday, it’s Date a Pacific Night with a speed dating opportunity to land a date with one of the eligible Pacifics players.  Then on Wednesday, it's Good Grooming Night with free haircuts offered to fans through the fourth inning provided by Pacifics team barber, “JD”, from Hair Plane. 

Tickets are available at pacificsbaseball.com