St. Louis Cardinals right-hander Alan Benes needed only 15 pitches to retire six of the seven Winston-Salem Warthogs he faced last night in a rehab performance that inspired reliever Britt Reames and the rest of the Potomac Cannons to a two-hit, 5-0 victory in a Class A Carolina League game at Pfitzner Stadium.
Reames, who came off the disabled list and was pitching for the first time since June 10, was not to be outdone by the major leaguer, throwing four shutout innings to earn his third win of the season. The shutout was the second straight for the Cannons (18-24).
Benes started his second game in the minors in six days since rotator cuff surgery halted his promising major league career in 1997. The Cardinals' first-round selection in the 1993 free agent draft, Benes won 13 games in his rookie season in 1996 and was third in the National League with 160 strikeouts when he was injured the following season. He returned Thursday and pitched 1 2/3 innings for the Arkansas Travelers of the Class AA Texas League, walking one batter and retiring four.
"It felt great," Benes said of his outing. "I was hoping to go two innings and [Winston-Salem] came out swinging the bats as I expected them to." Benes, who retired to the clubhouse to lift weights after the second inning, said he was pleased to be pitching after his lengthy hiatus.
"I was much more into the competitive part of the game this time," he said. "I wasn't so worried about the arm. The excitement's there and I've gotten better each time."
Benes, whose brothers Andy and Adam also have pitched for the Cannons, said he expects to make three or four more minor league starts before returning to the Cardinals in mid-September.
BAYSOX 16, METS 1: Carlos Casimiro homered twice and drove in five runs and Matt Riley won his ninth game as visiting Bowie won a Class AA Eastern League game. The Baysox (61-54) scored seven runs in the sixth inning. Riley gave up one run on three hits and struck out five over five innings.
KEYS 15, BLUE ROCKS 6: Frederick scored in each of the first six innings and collected 19 hits to win the Carolina League game in Wilmington, Del.