Solid outing gets RailCats’ Stephen Hiscock first win of year
By Michael Osipoff 713-2485 or email@example.com August 3, 2013 11:34PM
RailCats starting pitcher Stephen Hiscock pitches against St. Paul during the top of the first inning at the Steel Yard in Gary, Ind., Saturday, August 3, 2013. | Guy Rhodes~For Sun-Times Media
Updated: September 5, 2013 7:05AM
GARY — After allowing back-to-back hits to start Saturday night’s game, Stephen Hiscock settled in rather nicely.
He ran into some trouble in the seventh inning, but the right-hander, making his third start since returning after missing almost two months because of a shoulder injury, outdueled former major leaguer Mark Hamburger, as the RailCats held off Saint Paul 3-2 at the Steel Yard.
In his sixth start of the season, Hiscock earned his first win, allowing two runs on five hits in six-plus innings. After giving up those consecutive singles at the outset, he retired 13 straight batters, before Jose Hernandez singled with one out in the fifth.
“You just have to stay within yourself,” said Hiscock, who in his previous start had allowed five runs on nine hits in 51/3 innings at St. Paul on July 28. “They’re a good-hitting team, but if you make quality pitches, you’re going to get guys out.
“I got a little out of character there (at St. Paul in that previous start), but it’s a learning experience. The good thing, I took that game and kept the game plan.”
Coming off the injury, Hiscock continues to rediscover his command. And assuming he responds well physically over the next several days, the RailCats (43-30) will return to their four-man rotation.
“He’s getting a little sharper each time out,” RailCats manager Greg Tagert said.
Ian Durham worked a perfect eighth, running his scoreless streak to 22 innings, having last allowed a run on June 16 at Fargo-Moorhead. And Marco Gonzalez notched his eighth save, adding a perfect ninth.
The RailCats extended their lead to 3-0 with two runs in the sixth, using three straight hits to start the inning. After Ryan Babineau led off with a single and Christian Vitters followed with a double, Brian Kolb delivered a two-run single to center on a 3-2 pitch.
“Nothing bigger than Brian Kolb’s at-bat,” said Tagert, who had considered removing Hiscock from the game after that lengthy half-inning.
But Hiscock remained in the game in the seventh, and the Saints (37-35) broke through for two runs. Ole Sheldon homered to left on the first pitch of the inning. And after Hiscock walked Hernandez, Tagert went to Kyle Lindquist out of the bullpen. After two fielder’s choices, on a 3-2 pitch with two outs, Adam Frost doubled to right-center to score Trevor Hairgrove from first.
The RailCats had taken a 1-0 lead in the second with an unearned run, collecting three hits in the inning.
Hamburger, who appeared in five games with the Texas Rangers in 2011, allowed three runs (two earned) on 11 hits in seven innings on Saturday.
“He’s good, he’s tough,” Tagert said. “I thought we did a nice job. … He’s one of the better right-handers in the league and he has the background to go with that.
“You have to be pleased with the way we battled against a guy like him.”
Notes: The RailCats improved to a league-best 18-6 in one-run games this season. … They also improved to 7-2 against the Saints this season, including 6-0 at the Steel Yard. … Billy Spottiswood (4-1, 3.62 ERA) is scheduled to start Sunday’s series finale against St. Paul. The Saints had yet to announce a starter.