Even a hot-hitting Augusta GreenJackets team couldn't score runs on Boston Red Sox second-round draft pick Brandon Workman. So they outlasted him instead in an 8-2 win over the Greenville Drive.
Workman didn't give up a run in his eighth career start, but the GreenJackets patiently worked his pitch count into the 80s, knocking him out after just four innings. Augusta manager Lipso Nava pointed to hitting coach Jose Flores after the game for the successful strategy, which forced Workman to throw at least five pitches to 10 of the 18 batters he faced.
"It's because of the work that this guy has done with our hitters," Nava said. "Every day we remind them to be aggressive but to take what they give you. If it's not in the zone early, just take it. It's a constant reminder. It's everyday. If it's not enough to tell them twice, we'll tell them three times or four times."
The GreenJackets (16-23) got the message early, then struck in the fifth inning for five runs, sending 10 batters to the plate against reliever Tyler Lockwood. Adam Duvall started the scoring with his team-leading ninth home run, and Rafael Rodriguez and Devin Harris followed with back-to-back RBI doubles.
Drew Biery turned in a three-hit night, and Harris went 4 for 5, including his eighth homer to lead off the bottom of the seventh.
"We had a good early session. It was exactly what we were working on," Harris said. 'Our hitting coach has been talking to us a lot about trying to get good counts and pitch selection during counts and taking good swings in certain counts. He's done a good job in working with us on that and it's starting to reflect."
Each of the nine GreenJackets starters recorded at least one of the team's 16 hits. Six-year minor league veteran Ehire Adrianza wrapped up the scoring with just his seventh career home run on a solo shot in the eighth.
GreenJackets starting pitcher Taylor Rogers turned in what Nava said was his best performance of the season, scattering five hits over seven shutout innings. He struck out five and walked one for his second win.
Workman got a no decision after giving up five hits and two walks and hitting a batter. Lockwood (3-2) gave up five earned runs in his lone inning of work.
Heiker Meneses led Greenville (18-21) with a 3 for 3 night. The Drive didn't score until Augusta reliever Edward Concepcion gave up two doubles and a single in the ninth.
The win followed Augusta's first series victory of the season in Hickory, N.C., where the GreenJackets took three of four. Combined with Asheville's rain out, the victory lifted Augusta to within 3.5 games of first place in the South Atlantic League's Southern Division.