The Lowell Spinners were looking for a pick me up on Thursday night as they began a three game series against fellow division member Tri- City Valley Cats. Lowell came into this series losers or three in a row and seven out of last nine. They would get it behind good starting pitching from Enmanuel De Jesus and quality at bats with men in scoring position. It all added up to a 3-1 win for Lowell.
DeJesus got off to a bit of a rocky beginning for the Spinners but has been good of late. Manager Iggy Suarez said”minor adjustments in the bullpen have helped. On this night there was a good flow and pace to what he was trying to do. It paid off in a five-inning performance that featured eight strikeouts and no walks. He did make one mistake that resulted in a HR, but still good enough to pick up his first win of the season.
The Spinners struck first in this one against Valley Cats starter Matt Ruppenthal. Juan Barriento got it started with a base hit to right field, part of a 2-3 night. He advanced to second and third on back to back fielders choice plays, then scored on a wild pitch during Samuel Miranda at bat. 1-0 Lowell after two.
The Valley Cats got that run back quickly, in fact, the next half inning. Miguelange Serra took De Jesus’ first pitch of the third over the left field wall for his third HR of the year to tie the game at 1-1.
The Spinners would break the tie in the fourth off of Ruppenthal. Barriento’s second hit of the night, this one an infield hit, followed two batters later by a booming double to dead center field off the bat of Marino Campana who also had two hits on the night. The RBI was his sixth since joining Lowell and gave them a 2-1 lead after four.
Lowell tacked on some insurance against the Valley Cats in the eighth. They would load the bases on two singles and a walk vs relief pitcher Nathan Thompson who came on for Tri-City in the fifth. Lowell would get a sac fly from Garrett Benge to center field off of Tri-City third pitcher of the night Diogenes Almengo to give the home team a two run advantage at 3-1.
The Spinners pen did the job on this night, but not without a scare or two. In the seventh with Lukas Young on the hill, the Valley Cats gave themselves a chance to tie or take the lead with the help of two Lowell errors (57 to date), but Young got Sierra to ground out to end the threat with runners on second and third.
Suarez called on his closer Juan Florentino to get a two inning save. He would get it with the help of four K’s. He did get into a little trouble in the ninth but was able to finish the game and record his fifth save of the year by getting Sierra to fly out to end the ballgame with runners on first and second. Sierra left three runners in scoring position after hitting his home run.
The loss goes to Ruppenthal and his record is 0-1. Game two of the series is Friday night.