He retired 23 of the 26 Utica batters he faced Saturday night at Cafaro Field.
By BILL SULLIVAN
VINDICATOR SPORTS STAFF
NILES -- Doug Lantz made quick work of the Utica Blue Sox.
Playing their fastest game of the season (just two hours and eight minutes), the Mahoning Valley Scrappers used Lantz's finest outing to beat the Blue Sox 3-1 at Cafaro Field Saturday.
Lantz (2-5) faced 26 batters in his 7 2/3 innings and got 23 of them out. He finished with a five-hitter, struck out five and left with a 3-0 lead.
"I think it's one of the best," Lantz said modestly of his performance. "After they gave me some runs, I just focused a lot more.
"I threw my two-seamer a lot and got a lot of groundballs tonight."
His curve ball was quite effective and left more than one Utica hitter puzzled.
"I really didn't use it in the first couple innings," Lantz said of the bender. "It's always a last resort. Show them something different, get them off balance a little more."
Key homer: Although the Scrappers (15-36) collected just four hits, a two-run homer by Miguel Quintana in the fourth inning was all they needed.
After Chad Peshke had an infield single, Quintana took a 2-1 pitch into the right-field bullpen, about 400 feet away. It was just a bit further than the homer he hit Friday in an 8-1 loss to Williamsport.
Quintana's family was in town for the weekend and are scheduled to return to Miami tonight. They may have to change their flight plans if he continues his hitting ways.
"We're going to try to keep Quintana's family here for a few more days," Scrappers manager Dave Turgeon said.
Quintana had two hits Thursday to give him four hits in three days with the family looking on.
"It's nice to have my family here, being the first time I'm away from home," Quintana said. He played at Florida International in Miami.
"I had a 2-1 count," Quintana said of his homer. "They gave me a pitch I could handle.
"I've been working hard lately with that pitch, an inside pitch. I just put the bat on the ball. And, hit it out."
Quintana now has four homers.
"That's his best outing," Turgeon said of Lantz. "It's not a surprise to me.
"He's got such lively stuff. He just doesn't always trust it. That is by far the best he's pitched this year. He's very capable of doing that more often."
Lantz got himself into trouble just once, allowing consecutive two-out singles in the third frame of a scoreless game.
A wild pitch allowed the runners to move into scoring position. When Lantz got the next batter to ground out and escape any trouble, his team responded with some timely hitting.
Blessed with the 2-0 lead, Lantz began the fifth by walking the leadoff hitter of the Blue Sox (18-32).
The Scrappers turned their second double play (shortstop Bryce Uegawachi-to-Maximo Made-to-Curtis Gay) to regain their momentum.
Quick start: The first three innings were played in a blazing 30 minutes, a credit to the efficient pitching of Lantz and Utica starter Jeffery Fulchino (1-8).
The Scrappers scored again fifth to give Lantz more breathing room. Gay led off with a double to left and Uegawachi reached on an error to put Gay on third.
Another ground ball plated the third run.
When Lantz reached his pitch count, Chris Cooper relieved and earned his seventh save. Cooper faced five batters, struck out four and yielded a solo homer in the ninth.
"Cooper came in and did a great job," Lantz said.
Turgeon agreed about his reliever. "Cooper's been lights out all year. Cooper's been the most consistent pitcher on our staff this year."
Rittenhouse, 2b4121Malave, cf4001
Frazier, cf4010Peshke, 3b4110
Hicks, rf4000Quintana, rf4112
Stokes, dh4000Morton, dh3000
Laidlaw, lf3010Kirby, lf2000
Hartig, lb2010Myers, c3000
Wyant, 3b3000Gay, 1b3110
Rundgren, ss3000Uegawachi, ss3010
Lynam, c3010Made, 2b3000
E--Hartig 2, Rundgren. DP--Utica 2, Mahoning Valley 2. LOB--Utica 3, Mahoning Valley 4. 2B--Gay. HR--Rittenhouse, Quintana. CS--Frazier, Uegawachi.
Fulchino, L (1-8)5 2-343225
Lantz, W (2-5)7 2-350015
Umpires--plate Eric Eckert, bases Steve McQuaig. T--2:08. A--5,655.