STATEN ISLAND, NY – The return from Williamsport was not welcoming to the Staten Island Yankees, who were blown out by the Lowell Spinners in the series opener. But a new day arrived, and Simon De La Rosa shut down Lowell for six scoreless innings while Nick Solak went 2-for-4 with a home run and a triple in a 6-0 victory.
Dormant for each of the past two games, the Staten Island bats received an early contribution on Solak’s third home run of the season; a solo shot the opposite way off Lowell starter Darwinzon Hernandez for a 1-0 lead after one inning of play. Solak tripled in his final at-bat and set the tone for his club’s offensive output.
“I’m seeing the ball well, and you want to put a good swing on a good pitch. It was a good win for us. The guys were looking to put together some good swings, and the ball was flying out to the right. It got up in that wind and kept carrying in that direction,” Solak said.
Hernandez bounced back and struck out the side in the second inning for three of his strikeouts. The Baby Bombers failed to square up pitches against Hernandez until the fifth inning when struck for two runs on a RBI triple by Angel Aguilar and crossed the plate on Jerry Seitz‘s run-scoring single to up the lead to three. Hernandez latest five innings, allowing four hits, three runs (two earned) in defeat.
2013 World Series winner Brandon Workman relieved Hernandez in the sixth inning and continued having difficulty in his rehab from Tommy John surgery. Chris Godinez, starting in place of Drew Bridges and Yancarlos Baez with a lefty on the hill, took the right-handed Workman yard for an opposite field home run for additional insurance, his first since joining the Yankees organization in April.
“Honestly, I had no clue it was off a big leaguer. I had no idea who he was until after I hit the ball and they told me,” Godinez said. “The wind helped me today. When I got to the dugout, my teammates were like, ‘Chris, that was off a big leaguer.’ It was cool, but it was kinda lucky because I hit a couple of balls better yesterday that did not leave the yard.”
Battling elevated pitch counts in recent outings, De la Rosa sought to have a more economical outing, and he mostly achieved that goal by limiting the total of high-stress innings on the hill. Effectively mixing his pitches, De la Rosa lasted six scoreless innings, allowing four hits and struck out six on 88 pitches as he recorded his fourth victory in eight starts.
“These pitchers are always trying for quicker innings. Nobody wants to be out there longer than needed. What De la Rosa did today was pounding the strike zone, he had his breaking pitches working, and all of his offspeed pitches. He pitched well, and the key is having command. He commanded his fastball and his breaking pitches,” Staten Island manager Dave Bialas said.
The Lowell Spinners were with the services of outfielder Allen Craig for the second consecutive game on a rehab assignment after recovering from right knee inflammation. Craig went 0-for-4 with a strikeout against Staten Island pitching and drops his average under .300 with the Spinners this season.
The Staten Island Yankees will look to record a series victory in the rubber game against Lowell on Monday. Chad Martin, a 30th round pick in 2015 by the Yankees out of Delaware will make his start second start for Staten Island opposed by Lowell pitcher Josh Pennington, who returns to the mound for the first time since July 27 after struggling with command in a home start against the Batavia Muckdogs.