Darwin—On the road ‘Down Under’, the Central-leading (65-55) Las Vegas Luchadores took a pair from their snake-bit hosts, as the Finches lost a doubleheader to the visitors and in the process fell for the 13th time in their last 18 games. Only lowly West cellar-dweller San Jose has lost more games in the span, and in what has to be a real cause for alarm, the culprit often enough was the Unnatural Selections’ vaunted bullpen.
In the first game, Dustin McGowan (0-2, 9.26) again fell behind too many hitters, giving up runs in four consecutive innings to build a 5-0 Vegas lead. Even though the Finches scratched away at Derek Lowe (9-10, 3.89), they would fall in nine frames as Mariano Rivera snuffed out a bases-loaded threat in the ninth for his 26th save, and a 5-3 win. Things were never as close as that, though: McGowan twice got ending-inning DP’s with the bases loaded.
In the second game, the punchless Finches fell 2-1 to unlikely ‘ace’ Chuck James. All the unheralded lefty did was improve to 11-3, 3.86 on the year at the expense of Kelvim Escobar (11-6, 3.99) as errors by Polanco and Olivo contributed to his demise, with the only really hard-hit balls off the bat of Luchadores SS Jimmy Rollins. Still, with eight innings of one-run ball on the books, LV called for Rivera again, and (again) Rivera collected the save, his BARB-leading 27th.
In other BARB action:
BLACK MESA 7, SAN JOSE 2
WP: John Maine (10-12, 3.78)
LP: Dave Bush (5-7, 5.45)
John Maine, backed by homers from veterans Hideki Matsui and Jeff Kent, went all the way to post his second consecutive complete game as the Anomalies handed visiting San Jose its eighth straight loss.
WORCESTER 1, POTTSYLVANIA 0
WP: Eric Bedard (10-9, 3.30)
LP: Adam Wainwright (3-10, 6.61)
One start after his worst outing of the season, Eric Bedard (he of no-no fame) twirled another jewel, scattering five hits and going the distance for his third shutout of the season, tying Johann Santana and John Lackey for the BARB league in that superlative. And speaking of which, the Elims’ace had to make it all stand up with just one run surrendered by Adam Wainwright, who bunched together a Sizemore double and a run-scoring triple by Jeter for the game’s only tally.
S-MART 11, BROOKLYN 6
WP: Javier Vazquez (7-9, 5.24)
LP: Andy Pettite (6-7, 4.34)
Alex Rodriguez drove in five runs with three hits, including his 26th HR of the season, as the Boom Sticks scored early and often against Moabs pitching to keep third-place Brooklyn from picking up any ground on the second-place Squirrels. Part-time C David Ross hit his 18th HR of the year in just 159 at-bats, a prodigious record, much of it off the bench, to contribute to the home team’s triumph.