The Potomac Cannons took a badly depleted pitching staff into last night's game against Kinston, and Indians right fielder Chad Whitaker made them pay for it.
Whitaker hit a pair of two-run homers, drove in six runs and scored three more to lead Kinston to a 12-10 win over the Cannons in front of 4,581 at Pfitzner Stadium.
Potomac's offense was able to cover for the pitching for most of the game; the Cannons battled back from a 6-0 deficit to tie it in the fifth against starter Rob Pugmire (3-1). But Whitaker's second home run came with one out in the seventh inning off reliever Jason Navarro (5-10).
The Cannons' bullpen has worked some long hours over the past week. In a 14-inning, 5-4 loss at Myrtle Beach on Friday, Potomac Manager Joe Cunningham used six relievers. He used four more in Saturday's 4-2 loss to Kinston.
"I thought the guys we pitched tonight were fine," Cunningham said. "I wouldn't have put the guys out there if I thought they were fatigued."
Kevin Sheredy relieved Potomac starter Travis Held (1-6) to start the fifth after Held gave up six runs on nine hits. Sheredy was the only Cannons reliever who had more than one day's rest, and he shut down Kinston for two innings.
But Navarro, who worked two innings Friday, entered the game in the seventh and gave up six runs on four hits in 1 1/3 innings.
The top of the lineup did the work for the Cannons' offense. Twelve of Potomac's 15 hits came from the first four hitters. They also scored all but one of the Cannons' eight runs. Right fielder William Ortega led Potomac with five RBI.
Potomac made the game close in the ninth, scoring two runs on a double by Billy Deck. Jason Lee came to the plate representing the tying run, but struck out looking against Jarrod Mays, who earned his sixth save of the season.
KEYS 5, PELICANS 3: Jay Spurgeon (4-5) struck out seven and walked none over six innings as Frederick won the Carolina League game in Myrtle Beach, S.C. The Pelicans outhit Frederick, 14-8, but stranded 12 runners. Eddy Garabito doubled and drove in two runs for the Keys, who are 8-9 in the second half of the season.
BAYSOX 7, PHILLIES 4: Jayson Werth drove in three runs and Mike Bell won his seventh game of the year with seven solid innings as Bowie won in Reading, Pa., in a Class AA Eastern League game.
Bell (7-1) allowed four hits and two runs, striking out five.