GreenJackets win rain-shortened series opener

Clutch hitting returns in soggy victory

Tuesday, July 10, 2012 4:42 PM
Last updated 11:09 PM
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Augusta GreenJackets manager Lipso Nava had been waiting a week to see his offense deliver in a clutch situation. Though two rain delays totaling 1 hour, 51 minutes extended the wait time, the bats finally arrived in a 4-1 rain-shortened win over the Greenville Drive.

Jose Flores broke a tie game with a bases-loaded single, and Joe Staley added another score in a two-run seventh inning.

Jeff Arnold delivered in the eighth with a one-out double to score Shawn Payne from second.

The win, just Augusta’s second in six games, came after the GreenJackets (10-9, 42-46) dropped four of five games on the road in Asheville, N.C. Nava saw his hitter go 5 for 50 with runners in scoring position in the five-game series and fall three spots in the South Atlantic League’s Southern Division standings.

Tuesday’s win, which opened an eight-game homestand at Lake Olmstead Stadium, saw the GreenJackets improve at the plate when it counted. The game was called with two outs in the bottom of the eighth after a second rain delay made the field unplayable.

Boston Red Sox reliever Chris Carpenter made a rehab start for Greenville (9-10, 43-46) in his continued recovery from surgery to remove a bone spur in his elbow.

The 26-year-old right-hander, who was acquired by the Red Sox in February as part of a deal that sent general manager Theo Epstein to the Cubs, pitched only one inning but gave up a run on one hit and struck out two.

GreenJackets lead off hitter Kelby Tomlinson lined a 1-2 pitch over the right fielder’s head for a triple to start the bottom of the first. After a Flores strikeout, Carpenter hit Staley with a pitch then gave up a grounder to Ben Thomas that scored Tomlinson.

Augusta starter Clayton Blackburn fired four scoreless innings before the first rain delay prevented him from winning his sixth consecutive start. The 19-year-old right-hander allowed just two hits and no walks. He struck out six of the 14 batters he faced.

Heavy rain blanketed the field in the bottom of the second inning, prompting a delay that lasted 81 minutes. Once play resumed the two teams reached the bottom of the eighth before more rain produced a second delay.

After a 30-minute wait, the game was called.

Augusta reliever Steven Neff (2-1) allowed one hit and struck out three over two scoreless innings to get the win, while Derek Law followed with a one-hit eighth for his second save.

Mike McCarthy (1-3) threw three and one-third innings of relief and gave up the two runs in the seventh for the loss.

PLAY OF THE GAME: GreenJackets third baseman Jose Flores broke a late tie with a bases-loaded single to left field to put the home team up for good.

STAR OF THE GAME: Augusta catcher Jeff Arnold managed just two hits in last week’s five-game road trip but delivered two hits Tuesday night, including an RBI double in the eighth inning.

NEXT: Augusta GreenJackets vs. Greenville Drive, today, 7:05 p.m.


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