Poor Manny Delcarmen.
The Augusta GreenJackets right-hander banked a $700,000 signing bonus from the Red Sox two years ago, but the heralded young prospect still can't buy a victory.
Delcarmen came away empty again after six strong innings, but the Jackets found a way to scratch out a 3-2 win over the South Georgia Waves at Lake Olmstead Stadium on Sunday afternoon.
After the Waves tied it in the ninth on a RBI-single by Scott Gillitzer, Luis Cruz, hitting .164 coming in, laced a double to the wall in center field with one out in the bottom of the ninth, driving home pinch runner Kris Coffey for the winning run.
Reliever Charlie Weatherby surrendered the tying run in the ninth, but picked up the win to improve to 3-0, as the Jackets (19-18) took two out of three games from the Waves.
"It'd be nice to win, but my dad keeps telling me that doesn't matter," Delcarmen said. "It felt good today to pitch well after a couple of rough outings, and as long as I keep doing what I did today and keep my ERA down, that's all that matters."
For six innings, Delcarmen was locked in a scoreless pitching duel with Waves right-hander Marcos Castillo, who was making his first start since August 2000 after undergoing 'Tommy John' tendon replacement surgery in his elbow.
Castillo limited the Jackets to four hits in six shutout innings, but Delcarmen was even more impressive.
Coming off two shaky outings in which he allowed 11 earned runs and 15 hits in his last 8 2/3 innings, Delcarmen returned to form Sunday. He held South Georgia (20-16) to four hits, did not walk a batter and struck out seven.
"Today I threw just one or two four-seamers (fastballs) and went back to all two-seamers like I did in high school," said Delcarmen, who lowered his ERA to 4.66. "I also felt better mechanically. I had been flying open (with the front shoulder) and left the ball up. Today I closed up and was able to keep the ball down. It felt good to bounce back."
For the sixth time in eight starts this season, Delcarmen was out of a game before the Jackets scored a run. Augusta has averaged 1.8 runs when Delcarmen starts and has been shutout four times.
"Wins and losses and ERA are what goes on your baseball card," Jackets manager Arnie Beyeler said. "But a lot of these guys will have an opportunity to have a big-league baseball card. Once they get that big-league baseball card, that's what it's all about."
Jackets 3, Waves 2
Turning point: With one out in the bottom of the ninth and the game tied 2-2, No. 8-hitter Luis Cruz laced a double to the wall in center field, sending home pinch runner Kris Coffey with the winning run.
Big bat: Waves' third baseman Victor Diaz went 3-for-4, raising his average to .341, good for second in the SAL.
Top gun: Jackets starter Manny Delcarmen tossed six shutout innings, allowing four hits and no walks with seven strikeouts.
For the record: WP - Charlie Weatherby (3-0). LP - Edgar Lizzaraga (3-2). Save - None.
At The Lake: A crowd of 1,002 fans gives the Jackets 42,452 for 19 dates (2,022 average, eighth in the SAL).
Tonight: Capital City Bombers (TBA) vs. Jackets (RHP Rafael Sanchez 2-3, 3.620, 7:15 p.m., Lake Olmstead Stadium.
Reach Rob Mueller at (706) 823-3425.