Danny Gutierrez Reels in Goldeyes in 4-1 Grand Prairie AirHogs Win
The Grand Prairie AirHogs had a tough season in 2014, finishing in third in the South Division of the American Association, and never really being in contention. They opened the 2015 season against the Winnipeg Goldeyes, the team that had the second best record in the league last season. This had the makings of a tough start to the season for Grand Prairie, but instead it was the home team that came out on top.
Nick Hernandez, last season’s Minor League Sports Report American Association Pitcher of the Year, started for Winnipeg. He faced off against Danny Gutierrez, who pitched quite well for Grand Prairie in 2014. Both pitchers breezed through the first three innings. Gutierrez retired the first nine batters of the game, as did Hernandez.
In the top of the fourth the AirHogs starter continued his string, retiring the first two batters of the inning before finally giving up a single to Casey Haerther, who finished tied for second in the American Association last season in hitting. Haerther would go no further than first base, as Gutierrez retired the final batter of the inning to keep the game scoreless.
In the bottom of the fourth Hernandez retired the first two hitters, but then walked Chris Elder and Victor Diaz to put runners at first and second. Zane Chavez stepped to the plate and ripped a double into the gap that scored Elder and moved Diaz to third. Victor Ferrante was the next hitter. Hernandez tried to nibble at the plate, but Ferrante was having none of it. He took the first three pitches for balls, then missed on the 3-o pitch. With the count 3-1, he lined a single scoring both runners, and moving the score to 3-0.
Gutierrez retired the Goldeyes in order in the fifth, but in the sixth Winnipeg was finally able to plate a run. Luis Alen led off with a single, and after stealing second base scored on a single by John Mazzola. That would be all the runs the Goldeyes would get. The Grand Prairie starter closed out the sixth, and he was done for the day.
Gutierrez (1-0) finished with 4 hits allowed and just one earned run. He also struck out 3. The big right-hander was on his game, throwing just 86 pitches through six innings, 60 of which were strikes.
From there the Grand Prairie bullpen took over. Zachary Dando, Matty Ott, and TyRelle Harris pitched a single inning each for the AirHogs to close out the game. Both Dando and Ott pitched perfect innings. Harris allowed a walk, but struck out the final two hitters for his first save of the season.
The AirHogs did score one more run. In the bottom of the eighth inning. Jamodrick McGruder led off with a single and moved to second on a ground out. Robi Estrada followed with a single bringing home the runner, and making it 4-1.
Gutierrez was the winner. Hernandez (0-1) took the loss for Winnipeg.
The pitching was truly the story of the game. The Grand Prairie AirHogs finished with just five hits, while the Winnipeg Goldeyes mustered just four. Chavez’s double was the only extra base hit of the game.
These two teams will square off again tomorrow night. Game time is 7:05 local time.
By Robert Pannier