Yankees get maximum from pitchers
Monday, July 4, 2005 - The Maxim Yankees seem to have a knack for winning when games don't count in the Horizon Air Summer Series standings.
The Yankees (10-9) took advantage of three Yuba-Sutter Gold Sox errors, scoring two unearned runs and spoiling another outstanding effort by pitcher Matt Huff for the 3-0 victory, improving to 8-1 in nonseries play.
It was the Yankees' first win in the four-game series, which ends today with a game that does count in the Don McCullough Division, and snapped a six-game Gold Sox winning streak.
It's the first time this season the Gold Sox (18-8) have been shut out. The last time came nearly a year ago when the Santa Barbara Foresters won a 3-0 game on July 16 at All Seasons RV Stadium.
Huff (3-2) was locked in a pitchers' duel for the second consecutive week, this time facing off with San Jose State senior Brandon Dewing (2-2). Huff certainly pitched well enough to win, but didn't get help from his defense or offense.
“We've been on a pretty good roll, but it can't last forever,” Gold Sox manager Brad Peek said. “Their pitchers were tough. They spotted the ball well, went off speed and had us mixed up as hitters.”
Dewing, who entered with a .93 earned run average, allowed just two hits while striking out four. Chris Sherman got the save, pitching four innings of relief, allowing just three hits while striking out six and walking one.
Gold Sox reliever Wes Porter, who is a teammate with Dewing at San Jose State, said the strong outing was nothing new for the starter.
“That's Dewing for you,” Porter said. “He does a good job spotting his fastball and then pitching backwards. He'll start you out with something off-speed, like a change up or a curve ball. That's when he is most successful.”
Catcher Mike Wilkes touched Dewing for the Gold Sox first hit in the third inning, a ground ball that took a funny hop in the hole. He then picked up his second hit of the game in the fifth with a single to left. Wilkes was the only Gold Sox player with multiple hits.
“In my first at-bat, I had to fight off some pitches, and then I got that seeing-eye grounder that found a hole for me,” Wilkes said. “In my next at-bat, I was up 2-0, got a pitch and didn't hit it that hard, but it went my way.”
Huff dug himself into an early hole, allowing two runs - one earned - in the first. However, he settled after that, retiring 14 consecutive batters before allowing his second hit of the game in the sixth. He gave up his third hit in the eighth inning, allowing another unearned run to score with one out. He struck out seven and walked two.
Huff was then pulled for Jake McKinley, who retired the five batters he faced, three on strikeouts, in 12/3 innings. McKinley leads the team with 15 appearances.
Huff went seven innings in his victory a week ago against the Oakland Eagles, allowing an unearned run on three hits.
“He didn't have as good as stuff as last week, but he was able to manage tonight with what he had,” said Wilkes, who was behind the plate in each outing.
The Gold Sox stranded Wilkes at third in the third inning, the only time they managed to get a runner past second. Wilkes reached on his first single, moved to second on a sacrifice-bunt by Billy Krause and went to third in a wild pitch. Dewing then induced consecutive infield pop outs, ending the Gold Sox only threat of the night.
Junior Contreras hit a shot back up the middle in the seventh inning for the Gold Sox third hit of the game.
Jason Searle touched Sherman for a two-out single to right field in the eighth inning but was left stranded after Matt Suleski, who was 0-for-4 with three strike outs, was fanned looking to end the game.
“Our defense and offense took a Fourth of July vacation,” Peek said.
Notes: Gold Sox first baseman A.J. Valentine is now just 1-for-14 against in the series, dropping his team-high average to .350 ... Gold Sox ace Tyler Pearson (3-1) will start tonight for the in the holiday game that will be followed by a special lazer light show.
Appeal-Democrat reporter Justin Miller can be reached at 749-4796. You may e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org