After dropping Game 1 of the series 10-9 on Tuesday and getting called out by Fisher Cats owner Art Solomon prior to last night’s game, the Fisher Cats responded with a key 7-5 win over the Richmond Flying Squirrels yesterday thanks to a a stellar outing from starter Nestor Molina and a bases-clearing double by Anthony Gose.
Making his second-straight Game 2 playoff start, all eyes were on Molina since he lasted just three innings in his previous outing against Reading and allowed six runs (two earned) on five hits to take the loss.
He rebounded from that start just fine last night, as he held Richmond to just one run on three hits in five dominant innings, walking one and striking out eight.
Molina’s only rough patch, if you could call it that, came in the first inning, as he hit the first batter he faced before giving up a single. He struck out the next batter on a wild pitch that advanced the runners and, after an RBI groundout scored Richmond’s only run against him, he settled right in and coasted for the next four frames.
As Molina held the Flying Squirrels to just one run, the Fisher Cats’ bats woke up in the second inning. After three-straight New Hampshire batters reached base with two outs to load the bases, Gose cleared them with a double to put the Cats up 3-1. Then, in the fifth inning, Kevin Howard joined in on the fun by clubbing a double to center that scored rehabbing Jays center fielder Colby Rasmus. The Fisher Cats almost scored another run on the play, but Travis d’Arnaud was gunned down at home plate trying to score, so the score remained 4-1.
After Ronald Uviedo pitched a scoreless sixth, Evan Crawford gave up a walk, two singles, and an RBI groundout to open the seventh, which cut the Fisher Cats’ lead to two and made it a 4-2 game. Former Montreal Expos fifth-overall pick Clint Everts came in next, only to give up back-to-back singles and not only load the bases, but charge another run to Crawford and make it a 4-3 game. Everts turned it on after that, though, and retired the next two batters to end the inning.
New Hampshire managed to score three key insurance runs in the bottom of the seventh, after Rasmus drew a leadoff walk and advanced to third on a wild pickoff throw. Moises Sierra singled him home to make it 5-3, and Mike McDade and Howard knocked back-to-back RBI doubles to give the Fisher Cats a comfortable 7-3 lead.
In the eighth, the Fisher Cats were unable to tack on one more, as Gose drew a leadoff walk and stole two bases but the next three Fisher Cats were retired and stranded him at third.
New Hampshire did raise their fans’ blood pressures in the ninth inning, though, as two singles and a Gose throwing error quickly gave Richmond runners on second and third with nobody out. Bobby Korecky gave up his third-straight single after that, which plated two runs and made it a 7-5 game, but Gose was able to throw out Johnny Monell at second when he tried stretching his single into a double. Korecky induced two groundouts to end the game and give the Fisher Cats the much-needed win.
1. Gose (1-for-4, 2B, 3 RBI, 2 SB)
2. Howard (3-for-4, 2 2B, 2 RBI)
3. Molina (5 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 8 SO)
HM: Rasmus (2-for-3, 2 R, BB)
After an off day tomorrow, New Hampshire plays Game 3 of the series tomorrow night at 7:05 p.m. at The Diamond in Richmond. RHP Yohan Pino will start for the Fisher Cats against LHP Jason Stevenson for the Flying Squirrels.