It was a gorgeous spring afternoon in Bridgeport—perhaps the nicest day of the year. Unfortunately, not many of the locals chose to spend the day in the ballpark. Even more unfortunately, the hometown team’s bats were silent for most of the afternoon. York southpaw Alain Quijano threw seven shutout innings to lead the Revolution defeated the Bridgeport Bluefish, 2-0, before 1,965 fans at The Ballpark at Harbor Yard on Sunday afternoon.
After Friday night's game was rained out, it rescheduled as part of a two-game, seven-inning doubleheader on Saturday. The 'Fish and Revs split the twinbill, making Sunday's match the rubber-game of the series.
Bridgeport starting pitcher Tomo Okha did not bring his “A” game with him—if, in fact, he still has an “A” game. The 38-year-old right-hander from Kyoto, Japan, recently added a knuckle-ball to his resume in hopes of getting one last shot with a big-league. On Sunday, nothing seemed to work. The 17-year veteran, who has spent time with the Red Sox, Expos, Brewers, Blue Jays and Indians in the majors, seemed to be on the brink of falling off the cliff all afternoon, allowing 13 baserunners (10 hits, three walks on seven innings). But as if he were a graduate of the Houdini school of master escape artists, Ohka worked himself out of trouble time and time again, allowing just two runs (both earned).
In fact, this game was over almost before it began. After Okha walked York leadoff hitter Wilson Valdez in the top of the first, Valdez stole second and came home on an RBI single by Revolution right fielder Johan Limonta.
And that was all the offense the Revs would need on this afternoon.
York added an insurance run in the top of the third, and the Bluefish would not mount a serious threat until the seventh inning.
After York manager Mark Mason brought in 6-2, 232-lb. right-hander Michael Wuertz to relieve Quijano, a two-out single by Sean Burroughs brought the tying run to the plate in the form of catcher Ramón Castro, but Wuertz handcuffed Castro, who spent four injury-riddled years as the backup catcher for the New York Mets in the '90s, to end the inning and keep the shutout in play.
The Bluefish manager Willie Upshaw called on Jesse English, who retired the Revs 1-2-3 in the top of the ninth. That left York to bring in Rommie Lewis, a former Bluefish who served as the Revs' set-up man last year before taking over the closer job this year, and Lewis made things interesting.
The first batter up in the bottom of the ninth, first baseman Cody Overbrook, sent a 2-1 pitch deep into right center, where York center fielder Sean Smith ran it down in the warning track. That brought up Luis Lopez, the all-time hit leader in Bluefish history. Lewis made short order of his former teammate, however, striking the Bridgeport DH out in three pitches. The next batter, right fielder Prentice Redman, jumped all over the first pitch he saw from Lewis, pounding it out to left field where it hit the wall on one bounce, with Redman ending up at second with a two-out double.
Which brought the tying run to the plate in the person of Denny Almonte, who has delivered nearly half of his hits this season for extra bases (13-for-51, five doubles one dinger). But Lewis quickly got ahead of the count and Almonte send a harmles 0-1 fly to right to end the game.
Quijano picked up his third win of the season with his seven-inning gem in which he allowed no rus on four hits, striking out four batters and walking just one. Lewis picked up his sixth save of the campaign.
Ohka was tagged with his first loss of the season. He has two victories.
With the win, the Revolution improve to 12-10 and are in second place, two games off the pace set by the Lancaster Barnstormers in the Atlantic League Freedom Division. The Bluefish fall to .500, 11-11, in second place, three games behind the Liberty Division-leading Somerset Patriots.
The 'Fish now embark on an eight-games-in-eight-days road trip starting tonight in Lancaster, Pa., and ending on Labor Day in Camden, NJ. Please visit www.bridgeportbluefish.com for links to listen to live feeds of the entire road trip.
Bridgeport returns home on Tuesday, May 27, when they will begin a four game set against former NBA superstar Tracy McGrady, Koby Clemens (son of Roger) and the Sugar Land (Tex.) Skeeters. First pitch is slated for 7:05 p.m.