Luis Chirinos Takes a Bite Out of RailCats in Lincoln Saltdogs 5-1 Win
It’s just the way of nature. Dogs are supposed to beat Cats. It also appears that the same principle exists on the baseball field as the Lincoln Saltdogs downed the Gary Sourthshore RailCats Monday night 5-1 behind an outstanding pitching performance from Luis Chirinos.
The 23-year-old pitched quite well, going five innings, and only allowing 4 hits and a run, while striking out 5. He threw 83 pitches on the night, 53 of which were strikes and the right-hander was a big difference in the game.
Rene Solis started for the RailCats, and through the first three innings the two starters were doing their jobs, keeping the game scoreless. In the fourth Lincoln got on the scoreboard when Brian Joynt led off the inning with a single and moved to third on a passed ball and a single by Jon Gaston. Two batters later, Joynt scored when Curt Smith doubled to make the score 1-0. Mitch Canham was the next batter up and he hit a sacrifice fly that scored Gaston to put the Saltdogs up by two.
In the top of the fifth Gary clawed their way back into the game with a run of their own, and they did it all with two outs. Sam Lind was hit by a pitch after Chirinos retired the first two batters of the inning. Ryan Brockett singled moving Lind to second, and Jon Jones followed with a single of his own that sent Lind home.
In the sixth the Lincoln Saltdogs got the run back and added two more to their lead. Paul Mittura took over the pitching duties for Gary, and on a 2-0 pitch to CJ Ziegler, the Lincoln first baseman opened the sixth with his first home run of the year. Smith followed with a walk and, following a passed ball, Canham singled to move Smith to third. Mike Gilmartin singled to left field to score Smith, and a sacrifice fly by Jeremy Hamilton brought home Canham to extend the lead to 5-1.
From there the Saltdogs bullpen took over the game. Jared Gaynor, Kaohi Downing, and Conor Spink pitched the final four innings of the game, allowing three hits and a walk while striking out four. Most crucial was that they allowed no runs. In the seventh the RailCats looked like they might have a shot to tie the game when Lind and Brockett reached base with two outs, but Downing came in and struck out Jones to end the threat. In the ninth Spink allowed a two out hit to Roger Bernel but he fanned Carlton Salters to end the game.
Solis (0-1) took the loss for the RailCats. Chirinos (1-0) earned the win for the Lincoln Saltdogs. Jones and Brockett each had two hits for Gary, while Smith had two hits, a run and an RBI for Lincoln.
By Robert Pannier