As in most games with spectacular scoring outputs, nearly everyone chipped in for the Wingnuts in their 19-2 win over El Paso on Sunday at Lawrence-Dumont Stadium.
Such wholesale contributions weren't needed from the pitching staff, though. Ryan Hinson pitched six scoreless innings, staying aggressive even after the offense handed him a big lead in the second inning.
Sunday was the Wingnuts' most balanced game of the season, and it helped them improve to an American Association-best 8-2 while sweeping their first home series of 2011.
"It's a lot of confidence; it's a confidence thing," said Hinson, who improved to 2-0. "You've got to show your teammates that you're battling for them just like they're battling for you to score runs. If we pitch and hit like that, we're going to have a very successful season."
The Wingnuts' pitching could have been left in dire straits after the 15-inning series opener that left both bullpens depleted.
Junior Guerra helped give Wichita's relievers a rest by pitching seven effective innings on Saturday, and Hinson cruised through his outing Sunday, as the Diablos failed to reach scoring position after the second inning.
Hinson threw 93 pitches and probably could have continued in a closer game. He got stronger as the game progressed, striking out five of the final eight hitters he faced. He had eight strikeouts overall.
"I try to give them six or seven (innings) each time out," Hinson said. "I think of it as basically just doing my job and being successful. (The relievers') job is to get the seventh, eighth and ninth and my goal is to keep my team in it every time out."
A starter at Clemson, Hinson made two starts in two seasons in the San Diego Padres' organization, and in 2010 all of his 13 appearances came in relief.
Hinson has adapted nicely to moving back to the rotation. He allowed two runs in six innings in his first start against Fort Worth, and Sunday he owned a lineup that entered with a .324 team average and had scored more than eight runs per game.
"I kind of look at it like a challenge," Hinson said. "I was a starter in college for a little while, I started in high school, so it's not really new territory to me. I obviously had to get back to that level of competition and understand what a starter does and know I've got to be a little more patient with what I have to do."
He didn't need it, but Hinson had plenty of help on Sunday. Facing a Diablos pitching staff worn down after the long opener and after Saturday starter Josh Blanco lasted two innings, the Wingnuts didn't let up against any of the five pitchers they opposed in the finale.
Wichita's five-run second included an RBI double by Evan Button, but mostly the Wingnuts were station-to-station in the inning, delivering three singles and drawing a pair of walks.
El Paso starter Wardell Starling allowed seven earned runs in 2/3 innings and reliever Alfredo Caballero failed to stabilize. The Wingnuts torched him for six runs while Caballero made four outs. Wichita scored three against Ray Silva in the seventh and two more off Jon Plefka in the eighth. Only Amad Stephens made it through a scoreless inning.
"You don't want to make an out," said Button, who went 4 for 4 with a walk. "You don't want to go up there and give an at-bat away. The only thing that we're going to let up on is scoring the bases. We're going to take it easy and not take the extra base. But you don't want to go up there and make an out. You want to stay with your approach and you have to be a little selfish sometimes."
Machado 2b4120Horn ss6233
Douglas rf4000Patterson cf5324
Gabriel lf4000Cortes rf3212
Nichols 1b4001Richardson 3b2211
Avila dh2010Fitzgerald 3b1111
Deleo c4110Delgado 1b4110
Ponce ss4010Workman dh5123
Parra 3b4001Conroy lf4211
Drew cf3010Stevens c5210
Button 2b 4341
El Paso000 000 110 — 2 Wichita051 260 32x — 19
E—Starling (2), Drew (1). DP—El Paso 2, Wichita 0. LOB—El Paso 9, Wichita 7. 2B—Button (1), Horn 2 (4), Cortes (2), Delgado (6), Deleo (3), Fitzgerald (3). HR—Richardson (1). SB—Machado 2 (5), Button (2). CS—Horn (2). SF—Cortes (2).
Starling L, 1-13 2/378741
Hinson W 2-0640018
HBP—By Starling (Richardson). WP—Starling (1), Caballero 2 (4) . Umpires—Home, Lance Schoenwald; First, Rich Grassa; Third, Derek Moos. T—2:47. A—NA.