Y-S wins battle of Sox
June 24, 2006 - Given Kutz restored the Yuba-Sutter Gold Sox's reputation for having a near untouchable pitching staff on Friday night.
After the Gold Sox's staff gave up 24 hits and six runs in two games against the Solano Thunderbirds this week, Kutz silenced the Monterey Bay Sox through seven scoreless innings, allowing just five harmless singles.
Chris Chavez then pitched two strong innings, allowing a lazy single, to pick up his fourth save as the Gold Sox (17-2, 14-2) broke a franchise record for consecutive wins at All Seasons RV Stadium.
Yuba-Sutter won its 15th straight at home after a 3-0 victory over the Bay Sox in the first of a three-game Horizon Air Summer Series set.
Doug Thennis drove in two runs with two sacrifice-flies for the Gold Sox, and A.J. Valentine increased his team lead in RBIs to 15 with a sacrifice-fly in the first inning.
Kutz became the third Gold Sox pitcher to reach three wins and lowered his ERA to 0.36, which leads all starting pitchers.
“We needed it,” Gold Sox pitching coach Jack Johnson said of Kutz's effort. “The last two games we were pitching lucky and throwing up in the zone. In the two games against the Thunderbirds I think we had two ground-ball outs and today I think we had 10 ground-ball outs. That will cut
hits in half, and when you're getting ground-ball outs, you're going to be successful.”
Kutz struck out six and retired five straight after allowing a single to begin the game and later sat down seven straight before beginning to tire in the sixth and seventh innings, when he allowed two hits in each frame.
The right-handed junior from Northern Colorado entered the summer on a restricted pitch count after undergoing shoulder surgery in January. He did not pitch this spring at Northern Colorado.
But he has bounced back strong, pitching three, four, five and six innings, respectively, in his four previous starts.
“He feels great,” Johnson said. “We've been careful with him the last couple times, but he is always gearing for more innings. In the seventh he was gassed, but it was good that he could push through it. He's in great shape and prepares himself well to pitch.”
Kutz's counterpart, Jason Sims, took the tough-luck loss after holding the Gold Sox to five hits through seven innings. Sims struck out five, hit two batters and walked one.
Gold Sox right fielder B.J. Collom managed to figure Sims out, collecting a team-high two hits, including a single up the middle in the first inning and a double to the left field wall in the third, which set up Thennis' first sacrifice-fly.
“I was taking pitches that were balls, getting ahead and then getting a pitch I could hit,” Collom said. “I was taking advantage of fastballs and then drove them.”
Collom said Sims was pitching backwards, throwing off-speed pitches early in the count and coming back with fastballs later, which may have caused some of the Gold Sox's struggles.
Manager Brad Peek said it wasn't so much Sims' strong ability to throw breaking pitches for strikes early, but his club's inability to lay off bad pitches early in the count.
“Our approach to hitting was not good. With less than two strikes, we were not swinging at good pitches. We didn't expand the strike zone,” Peek said. “(Sims) mixed it up early, but we helped him. He was not necessarily throwing those breaking pitches for called strikes, but we helped him by swinging and we made it easier for him.”
Etienne Materre dropped into a 1-2 count before driving a pitch for a double down the left field line in the sixth. He advanced to third on a passed ball before Thennis picked up his second RBI of the game and 13th of the season.
Notes: Gold Sox hitting coach Chris Terry and his wife Ann welcomed their second child on Monday, a girl named Ashley.
Appeal-Democrat reporter Justin Miller can be reached at 749-4796. You may e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org