Wingnuts starting pitcher Ryan Hinson fancies himself as a streak stopper and a streak starter.
If the Wingnuts continue putting up runs at the pace of Monday's 13-7 win over Shreveport-Bossier, they'll be on the positive side of streaks even as their pitching staff fails to completely hold down opponents.
Wichita allowed at least six runs for the seventh time in nine games, but Hinson's line — he surrendered seven runs in 7 1/3 innings — was deceiving. He was solid in the middle innings and the Wingnuts handed him a 13-4 lead after an eight-run seventh.
Hinson earned the win and allowed the Wingnuts start toward ending their skid of three straight series losses by winning the opener against the Captains.
"I take good pride in it," Hinson said. "I want to be the guy that the coaches and the team can trust. When we need somebody to pick up a win or go deep into the game, I want to be that guy. I work hard doing it every four days to get to the fifth day."
Hinson is the Wingnuts' No. 5 starter, a spot that alleviates pressure but also makes him perhaps the team's most important pitcher.
Following Hinson in the rotation is ace Nick Singleton, who's 7-0 and among the American Association leaders in earned run average. Singleton has proven himself virtually unbeatable in 2011, so if Hinson pitches well in front of him, the Wingnuts have the makings of momentum.
"A lot of people say hitting is contagious and I believe good pitching is contagious," Hinson said. "Having that guy, our ace, right behind me is big. He's a great pitcher and we've got a great staff. We can get on a roll."
Hinson allowed 11 hits and seven runs, five earned, as he pitched into the eighth inning. He allowed five combined runs in his final two innings, but he was good when he needed to be, and his efforts in the middle innings allowed the Wingnuts to build a big lead.
Shreveport-Bossier scored two runs on four hits in the first inning as Hinson threw 24 pitches. He settled down after that, throwing nine pitches in both the second and third innings, seven each in the fourth and sixth, and 12 in the fifth.
The quick innings propelled Wichita's offense, which got back-to-back home runs by Brent Clevlen and Juan Richardson in the fourth and broke it open in the seventh.
"The hitters told me before that they liked to go out there and get (back on offense) quick," Hinson said. "If I go up there and have a good feel, the hitters are going to continue to get a good feel. If I get them back in as quick as possible, they're going to start hitting the ball."
After a run in the first inning, the Wingnuts started hitting the ball again in the fourth. Clevlen, who was with the team in spring training before being sold to the Cincinnati Reds, returned to the team Sunday after being granted his release by the Reds when he declined a demotion to Double-A.
He followed Ryan Patterson's fourth-inning leadoff single with a homer to left field to put the Wingnuts ahead 3-2. Richardson followed with a blast to center.
Clevlen, an ex-major league outfielder changes the dynamic of the lineup because it forces pitchers to give in to the hitters who precede him in the order.
"We go up there and now we can really hunt fastballs," Wichita shortstop Josh Horn said. "They don't want to walk you and pitch to that guy."
Everyone got involved in the seventh, as all nine starters had a hit, run or RBI. Jorge Delgado broke it open with a three-run double, padding Wichita's lead to 11-4.