PBL Scores, 6/21/15

Another light day, with only one game on the schedule.  But it’s a clash between the Patriot League’s two first-place clubs.  Who would emerge victorious?  Read on to find out…

Milwaukee Bear ClawsKnoxville SmokiesMILWAUKEE BEAR CLAWS 5, KNOXVILLE SMOKIES 3

Live by the knuckleball, die by the knuckleball.  Knoxville Smokies starter Todd Warrant has had a great deal of success this season featuring the unconventional pitch.  His offerings dip, dive, and flutter, and often making even the best hitters look silly.

However, as any knuckleball pitcher can tell you, the pitch is difficult to control.  And on the days when it isn’t working, the results can be gruesome.

“When the knuckler isn’t knuckling,” said Warrant, “you’re just a guy throwing batting practice.”

Warrant’s knuckler wasn’t knuckling today, and the Milwaukee Bear Claws made him pay, knocking him out in the second inning on their way to a 5-3 win.

The Bear Claws batted around in the 1st against Warrant (5-4), tagging him for four runs on six hits.  When he started the 2nd by allowing another single and a walk, Smokies manager Snuff Wallace wasted no time in going to the bullpen.

“Todd didn’t have it today,” said Wallace.  “No point beating around the bush.  I wanted to get him out of there while we still had a chance to pull it out.”

Warrant noted that, although Milwaukee stung a series of singles and doubles, it could have been worse.  “Usually, when the knuckler doesn’t work, that’s when balls start flying over fences,” said Warrant.  “At least I kept ‘em in the park.”

Unfortunately for Knoxville, Warrant left them with too big a deficit to overcome against Bear Claws starter Lou Mallory (7-2).  The Smokies scored a couple runs against him in the 1st on three singles and a walk, but Mallory held them down the rest of the way.  He went 8 innings, allowing only one more unearned run on the evening.

“Another good one from Ol’ Reliable,” said Bear Claws manager Poss Horton of his starter.  “That’s why I love him.  I can just hand him the ball and say ‘Go get ‘em,’ and he takes care of the rest.”

Milwaukee closer Oscar Buenaventura pitched around a 9th-inning single for his league-leading 19th save of the season.

There was a curious strategic move employed by Knoxville in the 4th inning.  DH Titus Maben and C Ricky Bossard opened the inning with walks against Mallory, in a rare lapse of control for the starter.  On the first pitch to the next batter, 3B Ronnie Aceuedo, the Smokies attempted a double steal, even though neither Maben or Bossard is a particularly fast runner.  Unsurprisingly, Maben was thrown out at third.

After the game, Wallace defended the unusual move.  “When you’re playing a team like Milwaukee, you’ve got to make your own luck,” said Wallace.  “I believe in being aggressive, and if we’d pulled it off, that might have started the big inning we needed.  No regrets.”

When asked how he expected to execute a successful double steal with such slow-footed runners, Wallace smiled and said, “The element of surprise.”

The Bear Claws (51-20) will try to sweep the short series tomorrow behind left-hander Benicio Torrenueva.  The Smokies (44-26) will look to southpaw Woody Flowers to salvage a split.

 

6/21/2015, MIL15-KNX15, Rocky Top Park
 
                       1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9     R  H  E   LOB DP
2015 Bear Claws        4  0  0  0  1  0  0  0  0     5 14  2    12  1
2015 Smokies           2  0  0  1  0  0  0  0  0     3  7  0     6  4
 
Bear Claws           AB  R  H BI   AVG    Smokies              AB  R  H BI   AVG
Petitt            ss  5  1  4  0  .325    Blair             cf  3  1  1  0  .287
Iddings           2b  3  1  1  0  .278    Kurland           2b  4  1  2  0  .353
Mateo             1b  5  0  0  0  .368    Campo             rf  4  0  1  1  .276
Suzuki            3b  3  2  2  1  .306    Battin            1b  4  0  1  0  .283
Mealey            lf  4  1  3  1  .305    Moriarty          ss  4  0  1  1  .271
Raine             dh  2  0  0  2  .239    Maben             dh  3  0  0  0  .097
Trumbauer         rf  4  0  1  0  .252    Bossard           c   3  1  0  0  .300
Maxwell           cf  5  0  2  1  .313    Aceuedo           3b  4  0  1  0  .292
Champney          c   4  0  1  0  .190    Sisco             lf  4  0  0  0  .301
                     35  5 14  5                               33  3  7  2
 
Bear Claws                       INN  H  R ER BB  K PCH STR   ERA
Mallory          W 7-2           8.0  6  3  2  3  5 123  78  3.36
Buenaventura     S 19            1.0  1  0  0  0  1  16  11  1.74
                                 9.0  7  3  2  3  6 139  89 
 
Smokies                          INN  H  R ER BB  K PCH STR   ERA
Warrant          L 5-4           1.0  7  4  4  1  0  35  21  3.03
Jones                            3.1  2  1  1  4  1  50  20  6.15
Tile                             4.2  5  0  0  1  3  56  38  1.88
                                 9.0 14  5  5  6  4 141  79 
 
E-Suzuki, Mealey. 2B-Mealey 2(11), Maxwell(17), Battin(14). RBI-Suzuki(56), 
Mealey(32), Raine 2(33), Maxwell(32), Campo(60), Moriarty(44). CS-Maben. 
K-Iddings, Mealey, Maxwell 2, Kurland, Battin 2, Moriarty, Bossard, Aceuedo. 
BB-Iddings, Suzuki 2, Mealey, Raine, Trumbauer, Blair, Maben, Bossard. 
SF-Raine 2. HBP-Iddings. HB-Tile. WP-Mallory, Tile. 
GWRBI: Suzuki
Temperature: 87, Sky: cloudy, Wind: out to left at 12 MPH.

 

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