Mahoning Valley scored five times in the second inning to topple Tri-City.
By BILL SULLIVAN
VINDICATOR SPORTS STAFF
NILES -- Paul Lubrano continued his string of strong pitching performances as the Mahoning Valley Scrappers defeated the Tri-City ValleyCats on Thursday at Eastwood Field, 6-5.
Making the first start of his professional career after nine relief appearances, Lubrano allowed just three hits in 32/3 innings.
He struck out six of the first 13 hitters he faced and exited the New York-Penn League game with a 6-2 lead.
"It went pretty well," the unassuming Lubrano said.
The Scrappers (22-25) batted around in the second inning, scoring five times.
"It's always nice to pitch with some runs on the board," Lubrano said.
The Scrappers used singles by Brian Finegan, Argenis Reyes, Marshall Szabo and Mike Butia, as well as a walk, a hit batter and a ValleyCat error to ignite the big inning.
"It was a great job," Scrappers manager Mike Sarbaugh said of Lubrano's first start.
"Everything we've asked him to do this year he's come on and done a great job," Sarbaugh added. "He did what we expected he would do; it's what he's done all year."
Now in 231/3 innings, Lubrano (1-0) has permitted just five earned runs with 23 strikeouts.
In the third inning, Szabo tripled to the wall in right to drive in Teo Encarnacion with his second run, making it 6-0.
Lubrano said he had no preference about starting or throwing in relief, and Sarbaugh said he's keeping all options open.
"We might need him in the bullpen or he might follow that start. We'll just wait and see the next couple of days," Sarbaugh said.
Hector Santana was effective in relief, yielding just one single in 21/3 innings after Lubrano reached his pitch count.
Butia added two singles in a nine-hit attack with two RBIs.
Szabo was replaced in the seventh inning after being taken out on a double-play attempt.
Szabo and Lubrano played together at the University of Georgia this spring.
After the game, Szabo sat in the locker room with his left knee wrapped in an athletic bandage, crutches by his chair.
"The knee's not feeling too well right now," Sarbaugh explained. "We'll probably have the doctor take a look at it."
Szabo explained a baserunner slid into him and forced the knee inward.
He was told that his big triple provided the winning margin after the ValleyCats (28-18) scored twice in the ninth.
"Whatever works, I'll take it," Szabo said.
Sutton 2b4032Reyes cf5111
Pence cf 5000Szabo 2b 4121
Zobrist ss4110Parker 3b1000
Garza 1b5111Toregas cf0101
Caraballo rf5012Casillas dh3010
Vital lf5000Butia lf5022
Clark dh 2100Gimenez 1b2000
Koch c4120Montgmry dh3001
Babilonia 3b4110Encarnacion rf4210
E--Sutton, Garza, Vital, Clem, Encarnacion, Finegan. LOB--Tri-City 10, Mahoning Valley 10. 3B--Szabo.. CS--Butia.
Alvarado L, 1-2 366423
Lubrand 3 2-332026
Santana W, 1-12 1-310001
Harris S, 10.122110
Umpires--Home, Howard Pereze; Bases, Phil Mulroe. T--3:03. A--4,785.