Jorge Martinez Impresses in Joplin Blasters 4-0 Shutout Victory
Note to the rest of the American Association: These Joplin Blasters are pretty good. For the second straight game the Blasters downed the Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks to move the Missouri-based team to 3-2 on this young season. The Missouri club has proven that they can slug the ball with the best of them, plating 10 runs in Monday night’s game. Tuesday they showed they have a pretty good pitching staff as well, as Jorge Martinez and three relievers combined to shutout the RedHawks 4-0.
This was a pitchers’ duel for five innings, as RedHawks starter Brandon Mann and Martinez kept the scoreboard showing nothing but zeros. Mann retired the first eight Blasters batters of the game before an error allowed the first runner to reach base. The left-hander closed out the inning without any others reaching, and had a no-hitter going through 4.2 innings. Steven Tinoco’s single with two-outs in the fifth was the first hit allowed by Mann. He would also give up a single to Jesus Solorzano before closing out the inning.
Martinez was nearly as impressive, allowing singles in each of the first three innings. In the fourth the right-hander allowed a lead-off double to Stefan Gartrell and a two-out walk to Zach Penprase before retiring the side. In the fifth Chad Mozingo reached on an error with two outs, but after stealing second base he would be left stranded.
This was a great game through five innings, and the tension mounted as each inning passed. The Blasters finally got on the board in the top of the sixth. Maikol Gonzalez led off with a single and advanced to second on perfect sacrifice bunt by Oscar Mesa. Yasser Gomez, who is off to an absolutely torrid start, stepped to the plate and singled, driving home Gonzalez to break the scoreless tie.
Leading 1-0, the Joplin Blasters would add another run against Mann in the top of the eighth. With two outs Gomez singled and Jake Taylor followed with a double that scored Gomez all the way from first base.
The eighth would be Mann’s last inning. The lefty allowed 6 hits, a walk and 2 runs in 8 innings of work. He struck out 2, and threw 108 pitches on the afternoon, 70 for strikes.
In the ninth the blasters added two more runs against two Fargo relievers. Omar Luna and Tinoco led off the ninth with back-to-back walks against Chase Boruff. The RedHawks sent in Mike Mason to relieve and he retired the first hitter he faced, but Juan Medina delivered a huge double to the gap that scored both Luna and Tinoco, and doubled the Blasters lead.
Four runs was plenty enough support for the Joplin Blasters pitching staff on this night. Martinez (2-0) earned the win with 6 shutout innings where he allowed just six baserunners (4 hits and 2 walks) while striking out 4. Matt Swilley, Victor Capellan, and Winston Abreu each pitched a scoreless inning for the visitors. Abreu struck out the side in the ninth to end the game.
Mann (0-1) took the loss despite pitching quite well.
Gomez finished 2-4, with a run and an RBI. His average stands at .579 after Tuesday’s game. Tinoco was 1-2 with 2 walks.
The loss dropped the Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks to 0-6, a disappointing start for a team that had entered the season with so much promise. The RedHawks will look to get in the win column Wednesday night when the two teams face off again.
By Robert Pannier