Molina Marvelous in 4-0 Trash Pandas Win
MADISON, Alabama - Rocket City Trash Pandas starting pitcher Cristopher Molina put the team on his back on Wednesday night, throwing eight scoreless innings in a 4-0 win over the Pensacola Blue Wahoos in front of a crowd of 5,303 on Wednesday night at Toyota Field.
The win snaps Rocket City's season-long eight-game losing streak and evens the six-game series with the Blue Wahoos at one game apiece.
From the start, both pitchers were on their game. Pensacola starter and Miami Marlins pitching prospect Max Meyer retired the first 12 Rocket City hitters he faced in four perfect innings.
Rocket City righty Cristopher Molina was equally as efficient early. He retired the first eight Blue Wahoos before a two-out single in the third. In the fourth, the Blue Wahoos put two on with two outs in a bid break the tie. Demetrius Sims hit a slow ground ball to first that deflected off the first base bag. Rocket City first baseman David MacKinnon adjusted to make the play and toss to Molina at first, ending the inning and stranding the runners.
MacKinnon broke Meyer's perfect streak with a leadoff single in the fifth. Michael Cruz reached on an error to put runners first and third. Torii Hunter Jr. continued his torrid September with a double off the base of the wall in right-center to score MacKinnon with the first run of the night and advance Cruz to third. Carlos Herrera hit a fielder's choice ground ball to score Cruz and Carson Matthews grounded a single to left for his first Double-A RBI as Hunter Jr. came in to score.
An inning later, Molina induced an inning-ending double play from Chris Chinea to hold the lead. Rocket City got a fourth run in the bottom of the inning when Mitch Nay came all the way home from first on an infield single from Hunter Jr. and a throwing error by Pensacola catcher Santiago Chavez.
Molina struck out the side in order in the seventh before ending his night with a one, two, three eighth inning. Kolton Ingram entered for Rocket City in the ninth and pitched a clean inning to finish the shutout victory.
At the plate, Nay was 2-for-4 with two runs scored while Hunter Jr. and Matthews each recorded two hits and a run batted in for the Trash Pandas.
In his final start of the season, Molina allowed just one hit, a single, over the eight scoreless innings while walking two and setting a new career-high with 11 strikeouts. Molina and Ingram combined on a one-hitter for the Trash Pandas, the first in franchise history.
The Trash Pandas (54-56) continue their series with the Blue Wahoos (57-54) on Thursday night. First pitch at Toyota Field is set for 6:35 p.m. Josh Caray will be on the call for 103.9 FM THE UMP and 730 AM SportsRadio. The game will also be televised locally on WAAY-31.6, This TV.
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