'Birds Blink First, 'Claws Walk Off
LAKEWOOD, NJ - Abrahan Gutierrez glided a walkoff single to left in the bottom of the ninth as the Lakewood BlueClaws outlasted the Delmarva Shorebirds 1-0 on Wednesday night at FirstEnergy Park.
The BlueClaws (28-35, 57-76) had managed just one hit with the game, which was scoreless in the bottom of the ninth. Yerwin Trejo led off the frame with a grounder that glanced off Delmarva pitcher Ruben Garcia's glove for an infield hit. Malvin Matos fell behind 1-2 but rolled a single to the right side, putting two men aboard. That brought up Gutierrez, who hit a soft liner to shallow left, allowing Trejo to come in with the winning run.
Manuel Silva (6-6) tossed 4.1 scoreless innings in relief for the BlueClaws, allowing just one hit and walking one while striking out four. Garcia (1-3) took the loss for the Shorebirds (39-25, 87-46) after giving up the winning run in the ninth.
In an intense pitchers' duel, neither side had an official at-bat with a man in scoring position until Gutierrez's game-winner. Starting pitchers Drew Rom for Delmarva and Josh Hendrickson for Lakewood combined to give up just one hit over the first five innings. Rom turned in his best start in weeks with five no-hit frames, walking one and striking out six to end his regular season on a high note.
Hendrickson lasted 4.2 innings, giving up one hit and walking one while fanning six.
The Shorebirds' only real scoring chance came after two intense plate appearances in the fifth. With two down and nobody on, Shayne Fontana fouled off eight two-strike pitches and muscled the 13th pitch of the at-bat into shallow center for a single. Fontana then stole second base, and after a 12-pitch battle Seamus Curran got hit on the hand to put two men on. With 38 pitches in the fifth alone, Hendrickson came out in favor of Silva, and on the first pitch to Doran Turchin catcher Gutierrez picked Curran off of first base to get out of the jam.
Matt De La Rosa kept the game scoreless with three strong innings out of the bullpen for Delmarva, and Adley Rutschman showed off his cannon from behind the plate in the bottom of the eighth. Seth Lancaster drew a two-out walk and attempted to steal on the first pitch to Trejo, but Rutschman threw him out at second to retire the side, setting up Lakewood's rally in the ninth.
Fontana and Toby Welk had the only two hits on the night for the Shorebirds, both singles. Matos accounted for two of the BlueClaws' four base knocks.
The shutout loss is the fourth shutout the Shorebirds have been involved in in their last six games. Delmarva blanked Hagerstown 1-0 in the nightcap last Saturday and Lakewood 7-0 on Tuesday night; the Shorebirds lost to the Suns 9-0 last Sunday and 1-0 on Wednesday.
The Shorebirds go for the series split in their final regular season road game on Thursday night. Grayson Rodriguez (9-4, 2.88) makes his final start before the playoffs for Delmarva against Lakewood's Tom Sutera (1-2, 3.80). First pitch is 7:05 p.m., and pregame coverage on Fox Sports 960 AM and the MiLB First Pitch App begins at 6:50 with Will DeBoer on the call.
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