• July 20, 2019

TEXAS LEAGUE BASEBALL: Diaz sparks RockHounds in series opener - Odessa American: Baseball

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TEXAS LEAGUE BASEBALL: Diaz sparks RockHounds in series opener

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Posted: Monday, July 8, 2019 11:17 pm

MIDLAND Edwin Diaz homered and drove in three runs Monday as the Midland RockHounds opened a seven-game homestand with a 5-4 victory against Amarillo in Texas League action at Security Bank Ballpark.

The RockHounds pushed their lead in the South Division back to three games after dropping three of four at Corpus Christi over the weekend.

“Coming off that tough road trip we had, we didn’t play our best down there, hit our best, pitch our best, and we almost came out of there with a split,” RockHounds manager Scott Steinmann said. “It was good to get home and get a win under our belt against a divisional foe.”

Monday’s game opened a three-game home series against Amarillo for the second week in a row. Before heading to Corpus Christi, the RockHounds took two of three against Amarillo last week.

“We know each other and we’re very familiar with each other’s clubs, the strengths and weaknesses,” Steinmann said. “It’s all about guys just getting the jobs done and performing in the clutch situations. We did a good job tonight.”

Diaz, who finished 2 for 3, doubled in a run in the second, then broke a 3-3 tie in the sixth with his home run.

“We put him at DH, gave him a little bit of a half day off, and he performed nicely,” Steinmann said. “Maybe he’ll get some more DH spots down the road.”

Grant Holmes (4-2) pitched four innings in relief of starter Daulton Jefferies for the win. Holmes allowed two runs on a hit and a walk, but retired his last seven batters and struck out three.

Jefferies was charged with a run on four hits over three innings. He struck out four.

Zack Erwin got the last five outs for his fourth save.

Amarillo starter Jesse Scholtens (3-4) was charged with five runs on seven hits over six innings. He struck out six.

Amarillo’s Ivan Castillo went 3 for 5, while Edward Olivares and Peter Van Gansen were both 2 for 4.

The RockHounds started quickly with a run in each of the first three innings. Dairon Blanco led off the first with a single, stole second and went to third on an error. Blanco scored on Taylor Motter’s grounder to second, beating the throw home from Van Gansen and reaching around the tag of catcher Kyle Overstreet.

In the second, Nate Mondou and Diaz started the inning with back-to-back doubles. In the third, Chase Calabuig led off with a double and scored on Brallan Perez’s two-out single.

Amarillo got on the board in the third when Van Gansen tripled and scored when Rodrigo Orozco reached on an error. Amarillo tied it in the fourth when Taylor Kohlwey doubled in a run and scored on Brad Zunica’s groundout.

Tyler Ramirez led off the sixth with a single before Diaz connected for his ninth homer of the season.

Erwin worked out of trouble in the eighth and ninth to close it out. In the eighth, Amarillo started with three consecutive singles and a walk off Midland reliever Jesus Zambrano, who picked off Castillo. Erwin came on and gave up an RBI single to pinch hitter Buddy Reed before getting Overstreet to bounce into a double play.

In the ninth, Van Gansen doubled with one out and was at third when Erwin got Castillo to line out to end the game.

The series continues at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday at Security Bank Ballpark.

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