The Augusta GreenJackets managed only one run Saturday night.
That’s all they needed with the hottest pitcher in the South Atlantic League on the mound.
Edwin Escobar fired eight shutout innings to extend his scoreless innings streak past 17 and give the GreenJackets a 1-0 win over the Greensboro Grasshoppers. The 20-year-old lefty picked up his third win this month by scattering four hits, walking just one and striking out nine.
“My confidence is better, and I’ve been able to stay focused even before the game,” Escobar said. “I’m just doing what I’m supposed to be doing.”
A full house of 4,731 at Lake Olmstead Stadium saw Escobar (7-7) make quick work of the Grasshoppers in a game that lasted just 1 hour, 55 minutes.
He delivered a near repeat performance of his last outing when he threw 8⅔ shutout innings in Charleston, S.C.
“He was the story tonight, and he’s been the story of the last month,” manager Lipso Nava said. “He’s been tremendous with the command over all his pitches and changing speeds.”
Escobar lowered his ERA to 3.02, the sixth-best among South Atlantic League starters. The GreenJackets needed the effort on a night when the bats mustered only one run on four hits.
Brett Krill drove in the game’s only run. The center fielder had an RBI single taken away Friday night when the GreenJackets batted out of order but got it back in the fourth inning Saturday.
Shawn Payne led off with a single to left field, advanced to second on a Jose Flores grounder to first and scored on Krill’s line drive single to center field.
The lone run was enough for Escobar, who won his third consecutive decision. Closer Kyle Vazquez walked the leadoff batter to start the ninth but catcher Myles Schroder threw the runner out trying to steal second. Vazquez retired the next two batters to pick up his ninth save.
Greensboro starter and Georgia Tech product Jake Esch (1-2) allowed one run on four hits over seven innings but still got the loss.
The GreenJackets (35-27, 67-64 overall) have won three in a row and nine of their past 10 but still lost ground to Rome in the South Atlantic League’s Southern Division standings after the first-place team swept a doubleheader in Savannah.
Augusta now sits five games behind the Braves with eight to play.