Mahoning Valley snapped its seven-game losing streak.
By BILL SULLIVAN
VINDICATOR SPORTS STAFF
NILES -- Facing a must-win situation, four Mahoning Valley Scrappers pitchers combined for a work of art.
Richard De Los Santos, Paul Lubrano, Kyle Collins and Mark Harris teamed up on a six-hitter as the Scrappers blanked the New Jersey Cardinals, 3-0, Saturday at Eastwood Field.
The Scrappers (20-22), who had lost a season-high seven in a row, will open a three-game series at Auburn today against the New York-Penn League-leading Doubledays.
Starter De Los Santos didn't throw like a pitcher with an 0-4 record and a 7.76 earned-run average and the Scrappers didn't play like a team that hadn't won in eight days.
De Los Santos faced 11 hitters and recorded 10 outs before being replaced in the fourth inning due to an injury.
He deserved a better fate, like a win.
Scrappers manager Mike Sarbaugh said De Los Santos hurt his right side, perhaps one of his triceps, and was pulled as a preventative measure.
Lubrano (1-0) led the relief brigade and permitted just three singles in 2 2/3 innings. He struck out four and left with a 3-0 lead.
"They kept us in the ball game," Sarbaugh said of the four pitchers who gave Mahoning Valley its first shutout of the season.
"He's done that all year long," Sarbaugh said of Lubrano critical service. "He's come in situations where we needed two-to-three innings and he's given us quality outings."
Collins appeared in the seventh and threw two innings of no-hit ball, yielding just one walk to the seven batters he faced.
The Scrappers turned their second double play in the ninth inning with Harris pitching.
While the pitching staff paved the way for the needed victory, the offense provided support with 10 hits, including a pair each by Marshall Szabo and Omar Casillas.
Szabo ignites offense
Szabo singled in the third inning, drove in a run with a fly ball in the fourth and doubled in the third run in the sixth.
"I was in a little slump there," Szabo said. "We're all picking it up and it's a good win to head us into this road trip we got against Auburn."
From his vantage point at second base, Szabo enjoyed watching the pitchers throw the shutout.
"It's positive for the hitters because we don't have to get up there and try to do so much," Szabo said.
Argenis Reyes singled in the sixth inning to lengthen his NYPL-leading hitting streak to a season-high 21 games. He also stole his 16th base of the year, another league best.
"He makes us go," Sarbaugh said. "He's been outstanding since day one since he's been here."
Brett Parker doubled in the third inning and Mike Butia singled home a run in the first inning.
NEW JERSEYMAHONING VALLEY
Dobson cf4000Reyes cf5110
Shepherd ss 4020Szabo 2b3022
Sherman rf4000Parker ss3110
Mullinax 3b4020Butia lf4011
Ferris 1b3000Gimenez dh2010
Webber dh3010Montgomery rf4010
Swackhamer lf 4010Pacheco 1b3000
Palmer c2000Clem 3b2110
Cantu 2b3000Casillas c4020
E--Palmer, Dove, Parker. DP--New Jersey 2, Mahoning Valley 2. LOB--New Jersey 7, Mahoning Valley 10. 2B--Szabo, Parker HBP--Gimenez. SF--Szabo. SB--Reyes. CS--Ferris.
Dove L 0-5 361121
De Los Santos 3.120001Lubrano W 1-02.230024
Umpires--Home, Mike Winestein; Bases, Art Thigpen. T--2:25. A--3456.