Alain Quijano sparks RailCats victory over Wichita
Michael Osipoff firstname.lastname@example.org or 713-2485 May 20, 2013 11:04PM
Updated: May 20, 2013 11:36PM
GARY — The RailCats were hoping to see the “real” Alain Quijano on Monday night against Wichita.
“Hopefully the hoopla is behind us, and hopefully he’ll settle in and be on his game,” manager Greg Tagert said before the game, after the left-hander had allowed seven runs on eight hits in 4 1/3 innings on Opening Day.
Quijano obliged, tossing six scoreless innings as the RailCats topped the Wingnuts 5-1 at the Steel Yard. He allowed five hits with three strikeouts and no walks.
“Just getting ahead of those guys was key, keeping them aggressive,” Quijano said. “They have a bunch of good hitters over there, and you have to get ahead of them.
“I didn’t get down, and go on to the next one. I was just excited for Opening Day, and I settled down early tonight.”
Wichita did have a leadoff single in each of the first two innings, but Quijano recorded three straight outs both times. In the sixth, with runners on first and second with two outs, he got Cole Armstrong to pop out on a 3-2 pitch after earlier in the at-bat the Wingnuts catcher had pulled a potential three-run homer not too far foul down the right-field line.
“There’s something to be said for Alain getting out of the first inning,” Tagert said. “They made a run in the sixth, like you know good clubs will, but he was in control.”
The RailCats (3-2) opened up a 3-0 lead in the fourth when Chase Tucker, after initially squaring to bunt with runners on first and second, butcher-boyed a double (yes, a double) through the vacated hole at shortstop as Wichita had employed the wheel play. Tucker made the decision on his own.
“He executed it perfectly,” Tagert said.
With runners on second and third with no outs, they failed to add any more runs in that fourth — they also didn’t score with runners on second and third with one out in the third — but such missed opportunities didn’t come back to hurt them.
In fact, Adam Klein delivered a two-run single with two outs in the eighth, after an intentional walk to Tucker to load the bases for a lefty-on-lefty matchup, to give the RailCats a 5-1 lead.
“Nick Walters is a tough lefty and they’re probably playing the percentages, but I’m going to take Adam there every time,” Tagert said.
The Wingnuts (3-2) had scored a run in the eighth against Ian Durham, before Clay Zavada worked a one-hit, two-strikeouts ninth in a non-save situation — he had been warming up for some time — after he pitched Sunday’s ninth to get the win.
“We had talked to Clay beforehand about going back-to-back, I know we said we’d be careful with him early,” Tagert said. “We’re going to give him the next couple days off.”
The RailCats had grabbed a 1-0 lead in the first, as Mike Massaro singled and Cristian Guerrero ripped a double inside third with one out.
Notes: X-rays on Monday revealed that third baseman Brian Kolb does indeed have a hairline fracture on the middle knuckle of his left middle finger, suffered on a home-plate slide on Opening Day. However, he can play through the injury, pain permitting, and the RailCats were not initially planning to place him on the disabled list. The fracture was expected to take two weeks to fully heal. Kolb took batting practice before Monday’s game, though receiving throws is the most difficult — and painful — baseball activity for him with the injury. … The RailCats went 3-6 against the Wingnuts last season, including 2-4 at home. … Going into Monday, Wichita had gone 10-5 against the RailCats since they joined the American Association in 2011. … Each of the RailCats’ first two wins had come in walk-off fashion; they had six such wins all of last season, with their first coming on June 26. … In their first four games, the RailCats had allowed 13 of their 27 runs via the home run, and had yet to hit one. … Left-hander Ari Ronick (0-1, 7.20 ERA) was scheduled to start Tuesday’s game — the first of two straight with 11:10 a.m. first pitches — for the RailCats, with the Wingnuts countering with righty Jon Link, who pitched seven shutout innings in a season-opening win against Kansas City.