The Wingnuts made two errors Monday night against Grand Prairie and allowed a hitter with an .038 average to reach base four times. But as has been the story during their season-best winning streak, the positives overwhelmed the negatives.
The errors didn't matter much because the Wingnuts saved potential big innings by Grand Prairie with superior glove work. And though light-hitting No. 9 batter Thomas Incaviglia walked three times and had a hit, he never scored.
The Wingnuts scored 30 runs in their four-game sweep of Grand Prairie, and on the night the offense was off, they did plenty of other things well in a 3-1 win at Lawrence-Dumont Stadium. It was Wichita's sixth straight win.
"That was impressive tonight to hold them where they're at," Wingnuts manager Kevin Hooper said. "That was a great pitching performance by everybody."
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Though the Wingnuts' pitching was rarely dominant — Grand Prairie had a baserunner in every inning — starter Sean Teague and two relievers held the Air Hogs scoreless until the eighth inning, when former Wingnuts outfielder Greg Porter hit a solo home run off Cephas Howard to cut Wichita's lead to 2-1.
Teague allowed a single to the game's first batter, Nook Logan, before Logan was retired on a line-out double play. That helped establish a trend of Teague working out of trouble, often with the help of his defense.
The Wingnuts turned another double play in the second. Catcher Jeff Christy killed a potential Grand Prairie rally by throwing out Incaviglia at third to end the top of the third and in the fourth, David Espinosa doubled off Teague but was thrown out at home by center fielder Ryan Patterson after a Porter single.
"He finds a way to get around it a lot," Hooper said of Teague's ability to work out of jams. "He competed, man. Kept them right where they were. It's a good hitting team over there and he kept them right where they were."
The Air Hogs loaded the bases on two walks and a single in the fifth before Aaron Garza lined out to end the threat. Though Teague was laboring, he struck out Espinosa to start the sixth before walking Porter.
The out was important because it allowed Hooper to delay, at least for a batter, going to the bullpen. Left-hander Dustin Pease hit Michael Hollimon and allowed a double steal to put two runners in scoring position before retiring the final two batters of the sixth with no damage done.
Pease also benefited from Wichita's defense, even after it nearly let him down. An error on second baseman Rene Ruiz helped Grand Prairie get runners on first and third with one out, but on the next pitch shortstop Josh Horn ranged to
his right and started a double play.
After Howard held the lead despite the home run, Justin Dowdy pitched a scoreless ninth for his 14th save, working around a two-out, nine-pitch walk to Incaviglia.
"You look at our staff all season long, they just get the job done," Wingnuts designated hitter Mario Delgado said. "We never get blown out of games — I think we've been blown out twice this season. It hasn't dropped. (The pitchers have) continued to do the same thing."
Patterson homered with one out in the bottom of the first to give the Wingnuts the lead. They manufactured a run in the sixth on an RBI fielder's choice by Ruiz and got back the run Grand Prairie scored in the top of the eighth on a solo homer by Delgado in the bottom half.
A pitch earlier, Delgado was knocked down on a high-and-inside fastball from Rod Scurry. Delgado admired his long homer to right and stared at Scurry on his way around the bases.
"I wouldn't have taken it personally if he would have thrown chest-high up and in to brush me off the plate," Delgado said. "But anytime you get a ball thrown over your head, right by your head, you don't want to take it personally, but you do. And I did. I haven't looked at a home run all season, and I just felt that it was fitting for me to watch that ball."
Logan cf4010Horn ss4000
Garza lf4000Patterson cf4111
Espinosa ss4010Cortes rf4010
Porter 3b3131Melian lf2000
Hollimon dh3000Delgado dh4121
Perry rf4000Christy c3000
Brown 2b4000Pearson 1b3110
Petralli c4010Bell 3b3020
Incaviglia 1b1010Ruiz 2b2011
Totals 31 1 7 1Totals 29o3o8o3
Grand Prairie000 000 010 —1 7 0 Wichita100o001o01x —3 8 2
E—Horn (9), Ruiz (4). LOB—Grand Prairie 9, Wichita 7. 2B—Espinosa (16). HR—Porter (11), Patterson (4), Delgado (10). SB—Porter (1), Hollimon (5), Incaviglia 2 (4), Cortes (3). CS—Incaviglia (1). HP—Hollimon (1).
Stanley L, 0-1 341133
Teague W, 2-25 1/350044
Dowdy S (14) 100010
HBP—Hollimon by Pease. Umpires: Home, Lance Schoenwald. 1B, Rich Grassa. 3B, Trent Delmont.