Following a six-game losing streak, the Baysox (18-26) took two of three from the Harrisburg Senators over the weekend. Thanks to a season-high five run inning on Monday they were able to collect an 8-5 victory in the series-opener against Richmond (21-24), but were unable to continue that offensive success on Tuesday night, losing 3-1.
Making his second start of the season after beginning the 2012 campaign on the disabled list due to a right shoulder injury, starting pitcher Oliver Drake finished with another solid outing. In his six innings of work, Drake-the eventual losing pitcher-surrendered two earned runs on five hits while striking out six batters.
Richmond wasted no time getting on the board, coming out of the gate with a two-run first inning. Lead-off man Gary Brown reached on a fielding error committed by Baltimore's highly-touted shortstop prospect Manny Machado. Brown came around to score on a Ryan Cavan RBI double, who then scored the second run on a Chris Dominguez ground out.
Bowie's lone run came on a Kipp Schutz RBI single to center field in the second inning, which scored Machado following his infield single. Schutz, the left fielder who was just called up from Frederick last Thursday, hit .333 in 29 Single-A games this season. The single was his first of the season with Bowie in 13 at bats.
The Flying Squirrels' starter, Chris Heston, bested Drake's performance by shutting down Bowie's offense from the start. Heston struck out nine batters, allowed six base hits and just one Bowie run (unearned) in a winning effort.
I wasn't really disappointed early in the game, Manager Gary Kendall explained in the clubhouse following the loss. We took some good swings. It was later in the game that I was disappointed with our intensity. It seemed like we just gave some at bats away.
In terms of the bullpen's performance (Michael Belfiore: 2 IP, 1 H, 4 k, 1 BB in his first appearance in the system), Kendall was very happy.
I'm glad he got in and got his feet wet against a few lefties, he said of Belfiore, newly acquired from Arizona in the Josh Bell trade. He showed a great combination of curveballs and change-ups and he doesn't seem afraid of any batters.
After losing relievers Stuart Pomeranz and Eddie Gamboa to Triple-A Norfolk earlier in the season, Bowie is looking to find consistency in the bullpen and they may have just found it in the 23-year old Belfiore.
On Wednesday Baltimore's All-Star second baseman Brian Roberts will begin his rehab assignment with the Baysox, hopefully playing around four innings. There isn't a set timetable for his return, but he hopes to return to the Orioles in early-to-mid June barring any setbacks.