Wichita Wingnuts

Two for one: Wingnuts finish Saturday with two wins

The Wingnuts' Jorge Cortes slides across the plate against El Paso in the 2nd inning to make it 5-1 Saturday at LD Stadium. (May 21, 2011)
The Wingnuts' Jorge Cortes slides across the plate against El Paso in the 2nd inning to make it 5-1 Saturday at LD Stadium. (May 21, 2011) The Wichita Eagle

Wingnuts backup catcher Jeff Stevens was assured by his brother before the resumption of a suspended game Saturday that Stevens would get an important hit.

It might be difficult to give Stevens' brother credit for that prediction because technically, Saturday was still Friday.

The Wingnuts' game against El Paso was suspended after 14 innings late Friday because of the American Association curfew rule. The teams resumed their game on Saturday and Stevens drove in the game-winning run with a bases-loaded single in the 15th, giving the Wingnuts a 9-8 victory.

The Wingnuts also won Saturday's regularly scheduled game 8-5 behind seven solid innings from starting pitcher Junior Guerra.

"You're always ready for anything," Stevens said of the suspended game. "I don't think anyone expected to go as long as it did, but that's just the game. Sometimes it happens. We were able to get through it."

Stevens had played sparingly behind starter Edwin Bellorin and hadn't yet collected a hit before his Saturday at-bat.

After Bellorin was removed for a pinch-runner late Friday, Stevens replaced him. Stevens didn't get a plate appearance until Saturday night, and it came with the bases loaded and one out in an 8-8 tie.

El Paso reliever Alfredo Caballero walked the bases loaded, and a visit by pitching coach Andy Torres gave Stevens a hint into Caballero's strategy — throw a fastball and get ahead in the count.

Stevens was waiting, lining Caballero's first pitch to the gap in left-center. The hit might have cleared the bases if the game didn't end when the first runner crossed the plate.

"I knew he was just trying to get ahead," Stevens said. "I'm not usually a guess hitter, but if it wasn't a fastball, I wasn't going to swing. He laid it right there and I was able to make him pay."

The teams traded runs in the 14th before the game was suspended and seemed on their way to doing it again when Ryan Patterson answered El Paso's run in the 15th with a solo home run to start the bottom half.

The Wingnuts' rally happened mostly because of Caballero's control issues, but Patterson's home run gave them a renewed energy and a confidence they could score once more.

"He hits that solo home run to tie it up, and with nobody out you're going to give yourself a good chance to get a couple guys on base," Wingnuts manager Kevin Hooper said.

Just as responsible for the win was Nick Singleton, the Wingnuts' ace who relieved in the 15th with the bases loaded and one out after El Paso took the lead. Singleton retired the two batters he faced with no damage done to pick up his third win.

With a depleted bullpen, the Wingnuts needed an efficient performance from Guerra in the scheduled game. He gave them one.

After allowing a home run in the second and a triple in the third, Guerra didn't surrender another hit until an infield single with two outs in the sixth. He became the first Wingnuts starter to pitch into the seventh inning, and he allowed one run on four hits.

"Tremendous job, Junior Guerra," Hooper said. "You know how the pitching has been for us — it's been a struggle. We've been wearing the bullpen out, but we've battled through it."

El Paso's pitching staff was just as fatigued but it got no help from Josh Blanco, who lasted two innings. The Wingnuts scored six in the second, helped by six walks and two-run singles by Jorge Delgado and Josh Horn. Blanco threw 54 pitches in the inning.

"We knew we were going to have to go up there and hack," Horn said. "We weren't trying to draw any walks, that's for sure. The walks we got, those pitches weren't even close."

Completion of Friday's suspended game

EL PASOabrhbiWICHITAabrhbi

Machado 2b 6332Horn ss7111

Ponce ss6101Patterson cf8321

Gabriel lf8112Cortes rf7220

Nichols 1b7132Richardson 3b6131

Mejia c7031Delgado 1b 4012

Avila dh4000Workman dh6110

Medina pr0000Bellorin c 4032

Deleo ph2000Button pr0000

Douglas rf7120Stevens c1011

Parra 3b5120Conroy lf6000

Drew cf6010Fitzgerald 2b7110

Totals588158Totals569158

El Paso200 210 100 000 011 — 8 Wichita101 001 003 000 012 — 9

E—Ponce (3), Delgado 2 (4). DP—El Paso 3, Wichita 1. LOB—El Paso 14, Wichita 18. 2B—Mejia (2), Cortes (1), Delgado (4), Bellorin (2), Fitzgerald (2). 3B—Richardson (2). HR—Machado (1), Gabriel (1), Nichols (2), Patterson (1). SB—Machado (3), Douglas (4), Horn (3), Patterson 2 (5), Workman (1). CS—Douglas (1). S—Parra.

El Pasoiphrerbbso

Tucker5 1/373342

Stephens1 2/300001

Plefka110011

Vander Weg133331

Silva100001

Crespo 3 1/32113 4

Caballero L, 1-1122230

Wichita

Lare68 5 514

Mathes111112

Gilliland120003

Simon2 1/320014

Dew2 2/300006

Howard 1 1/322222

Singleton W, 3-0 2/300001

HBP—By Lare (Ponce); by Howard (Parra); by Howard (Drew). Umpires—Home, Rich Grassa; First, Derek Moos; Third, Lance Schoenwald. Time—5:22. A—3,246.

Saturday's Game

EL PASOabrhbiWICHITAabrhbi

Machado 2b 4010Horn ss5132

Douglas rf5110Patterson cf4011

Gabriel lf4022Cortes rf4100

Nichols 1b4010Richardson 3b4111

Mejia c3000Delgado 1b3112

Avila dh4232Workman dh2110

Ponce ss4000Bellorin c 3111

Parra 3b3110Conroy lf3100

Drew cf4100Button 2b 2100

Totals35594Totals30887

El Paso010 000 022 — 5 Wichita060 110 00x — 8

E—Cortes (1). DP—El Paso 1, Wichita 1. LOB—El Paso 6, Wichita 8. 2B—Douglas (4), Horn (2), Patterson (4), Delgado (5), Workman (1), Bellorin (3). 3B—Machado (2). HR—Avila 2 (4). SB—Delgado (1). SF—Patterson (2).

El Pasoiphrerbbso

Blanco L, 0-1256662

Medina632223

Wichita

Guerra W, 1-0741113

Miller 2/332211

Mathes1 1/322110

HBP—By Medina (Delgado). WP—Mathes (3). Umpires—Home, Derek Moos; First base, Lance Schoenwald; Third base, Rich Grassa. Time—2:37. A—3,151.

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