MILL, S.C. --With a right-left combination of Rubby De La Rosa and
Chris Hernandez, the Pawtucket Red Sox completed their first shutout
victory of the season with a two-hitter in Saturday's 4-0 win over the
Charlotte before 8,802 at Knights Stadium.
The last time the PawSox held their opponent scoreless was Game 2 of last year's Governor's Cup Championship Series, when they beat Charlotte, 2-0, en route to a three-game sweep. The winning pitcher in that contest, Zach Stewart, is now a member of the Knights, who've been blanked in five of their 25 losses this season.
It took a fly out induced by Hernandez on the 14th pitch of Josh Phegley's two-out at-bat in the ninth inning to secure the victory in the 12-strikeout performance by the Pawtucket tandem.
And with it, a sixth straight triumph, giving the PawSox their longest winning streak of the season and lifting them 10 games above .500, at 23-13, for the first time. In another first, Mark Hamilton became the initial Pawtucket player to hit two home runs in the same game this spring.
Hamilton pulled the first down the right-field line and launched the second to right-center, each clearing the 30-foot-high wall at the expense of Charlotte starter Jason Berken.
In fact, Berken (L, 2-3) had not allowed a hit through 3.2 innings, when Hamilton gave Pawtucket a 1-0 lead in the top of the fourth inning.
The PawSox added two runs in the fifth, following singles by Drew Sutton and Brock Holt. Jeremy Hazelbaker's sacrifice fly and Justin Henry's RBI double increased their lead to 3-0. Hamilton then connected again to make it, 4-0, in the sixth inning.
Hamilton is now 9-for-22 with three HR and 10 RBI on the current trip through Gwinnett and Charlotte. He has given Pawtucket its first lead in five of the six games on this swing.
De La Rosa, who fanned the final four batters, finished his four-inning stint with a season-high seven strikeouts. Since allowing 10 earned runs in his first three starts, totaling 6.2 innings and amounting to a 13.50 ERA, he's authored 14.0 consecutive scoreless innings. In that span, De La Rosa has yielded just one hit with 19 strikeouts.
For the second time in six games, he ceded the mound to the lefty Hernandez. On this night, Hernandez (W, 2-2) set down 12 of the first 13 faced and overcame a leadoff error in the ninth by outlasting Phelgley in their last at-bat endurance test.
The third game of the series is scheduled for 2:15 p.m. on Sunday, with Alfredo Aceves (2-0, 1.38) scheduled to confront John Danks (0-0, 3.60).