Potomac Cannons starter Travis Held was as good last night as he has been all season, but Kinston starter Ryan Drese was exquisite, throwing 6 1/3 hitless innings and pacing the Indians to a 2-0 victory at Pfitzner Stadium in a Class A Carolina League game.
Drese, a fifth-round draft pick of the Cleveland Indians in 1998, loaded the bases with two walks and a hit batter in the bottom of the first. But his strikeouts of David Kim and Billy Deck to end the inning were a sign of things to come.
The right-hander tore through the Cannons' lineup with hard pitches that routinely found the edges of the plate. The Cannons finally solved Drese (5-4) when Deck singled to right in the seventh.
"He came right at us," Cannons Manager Joe Cunningham said. "His control wasn't that exceptional, but he was just wild enough to be effective. He threw hard and overmatched us at times."
Cunningham was also impressed with his own starter. Held has been roughed up at times, and was 2-9 with a 5.68 earned run average. But in seven innings against Kinston (39-26), Held gave up just six hits while striking out six and conceding no walks. Kinston scored both runs in a second inning in which Potomac committed two errors.
"That's probably the best he's pitched this year. He had just one bad pitch," Cunningham said, referring to the offering that Billy Munoz laced into right-center field for an RBI double. Casey Smith then reached on an error and Osmany Santana singled to center to give the Indians all the scoring they would need.
The defeat ended Potomac's four-game winning streak against a Kinston club that is headed to the Carolina League playoffs. But despite the recent surge, the Cannons (28-38) must win two of their final four games to avoid posting the poorest record in franchise history.
PELICANS 4, KEYS 3: Ryan Lehr homered twice to lead host Myrtle Beach over Frederick in a Carolina League game. The Pelicans completed a four-game series sweep of the Keys.