Starter Fans Career-High Eight in Greensboroâ€™s 3-0 Victory
GREENSBORO â€“ Alex Sanabia made quick work of the BlueClaws Sunday as Greensboro shut out Lakewood, 3-0, to even the series at a game apiece.
Less than 24 hours after being pounded by the BlueClaws, Greensboro returned to the field and Sanabia pitched seven shut out innings in which he allowed just three hits and struck out a career-high eight batters.
â€œI think the main thing for me was just to stay focused and level-headed,â€ a jovial Sanabia said following his post-game warm down. â€œI went through a rough patch in the middle of the season and now everything is working in my favor. Iâ€™m feeling very comfortable on the mound and the guys behind me are making the plays when they need to.â€
Not only are his teammates backing him up, but his numbers during his last four outings are something opposing managers will be taking a close look at the next time Sanabia takes the mound.
The San Diego, Calif, native has not allowed an earned run in his last 25 innings and has given up just 13 hits during the span. During his last four starts, Sanabia has walked only four batters while striking out 20 after a season- and career-high eight Kâ€™s on Sunday.
â€œAlex is a very young kid and we knew he had the tools to perform like this,â€ manager Edwin Rodriguez said. â€œHis last four times out heâ€™s done a heck of a job for us. Heâ€™s putting in a lot of extra work and its obviously paying off for him.â€
But there happens to be two sides of the game and Sanabia wouldnâ€™t be 3-0 in his last four outings if it werenâ€™t for some timely hitting by the offense and a strong bullpen to back him up. Sanabiaâ€™s only non-decision in his last four starts came on July 23 when he left the game with a one-run lead after six innings. The Hoppers led 3-1 heading in to the ninth inning of that game, but eventually lost after allowing three runs in the final frame.
There would be no resemblance of that Sunday as Peter Andrelczyk and A.J. Battisto pitched a hit-less eighth and ninth inning respectively to preserve Greensboroâ€™s fourth shut out of the season.
Sanabia earned the victory and was put in line to win after the Hoppers broke the scoreless tie in the third with consecutive hits by Jameson Smith, Justin Jacobs and Hunter Mense to lead off the inning. Greensboro plated two runs in the inning and added another in the fourth to close out the scoring.
Since starting his current hot streak, Sanabia has seen his earned run average drop from 6.41 on July 18 to his current 4.16 mark.
Greensboro will look to take a lead in the series as the Hoppers and BlueClaws return to action Monday with RHP Stuart Alexander (8-8, 4.64) set to make his first start since coming off of the disabled list with a right hamstring strain; Lakewood is expected to counter with RHP Julian Sampson (7-4, 4.53) in the 7:00 p.m. contest.
Postgame Quick Stats
Win â€“ Alex Sanabia (5-3); Loss â€“ Vance Worley (1-1); Save â€“ A.J. Battisto (3)
Time â€“ 2:03; Attendance â€“ 4,761
*****from Justin Stottlemyre Hoppers’ media assistant*****