By: Thomas Gase (Vallejo Times-Herald) and Admirals Staff
VALLEJO, Calif. – A day after the Vallejo Admirals got off to a great start to the second half of the season, their bats were silenced Wednesday night by Pittsburg Diamonds’ starting pitcher, Michael Gunn.
Gunn didn’t allow a hit for the first five innings of the game and earned the win as the Diamonds defeated Vallejo 9-5 in the second-game of a three-game series at Wilson Park.
The Pittsburg righthander went six innings, giving up just three hits and one earned run while striking out seven.
“He did a good job of keeping the ball down,” Admirals manager P.J. Phillips said. “His curveball was working and he was pounding the zone with it.”
Pittsburg (22-19, 1-1) got on the board in the first inning by playing small ball. Despite not getting a ball out of the infield the Diamonds scored after Jose Garcia scored on an RBI groundout by Vinny Guglietti to make it 1-0. Garcia had reached on an infield single earlier in the inning.
The Diamonds added four more runs in the top of the second to extend the lead to 5-0. After an error by Vladimir Gomez and two hit by pitches from starting pitcher David Dinelli, Ordomar Valdez-Martinez sent all of them home with a triple on a 1-2 pitch that landed just inside the right field line to make the score 4-0. Moments later Valdez-Martinez scored on another error by Gomez and the lead increased to five runs.
Errors continued to hurt Vallejo (13-28, 1-1) in the fourth. After Valdez-Martinez reached on an error by Ryan Rodriguez, Guglietti made the Admirals pay with a double to right to make the score 6-0.
For Dinelli, it was his first start since July 6, as he suffered a hip injury in Sonoma. He gave up seven runs, but five earned while allowing just five hits and three walks.
“The important thing was to just get him out there throwing again,” Phillips said. “I didn’t think he pitched all that bad.”
In the top of the sixth Pittsburg made the score 7-0 when ex-Admiral Gerald Bautista hit a solo home run to center with two outs. It was Bautista’s fifth homer of the year.
Meanwhile Gunn was dominating for Pittsburg on the mound, not allowing a hit and only three walks through the first five innings.
The Admirals finally got to Gunn in the sixth when David Kiriakos had a solid single to left. He would later score in the inning on a two-out single by Chevy Clarke. Gunn got out of the bases-loaded jam moments later, however, when Derke grounded out to second to end the inning.
Pittsburg increased the lead to 9-1 in the seventh. Guglietti doubled to left and scored on a RBI single by Wes Wallace. Wallace scored moments later on a double by Yiecok Calderon to make it an eight-run lead.
Vallejo answered with two runs in the bottom half of the frame when Kiriakos showed a lot of hustle. First he drove in a run with a single to make it 9-2. Moments later he stole second base and scored himself on an error to make it 9-3.
“I saw the ball well and I’ve just been staying back on the ball well and the result was a couple of line outs and two knocks for hits,” Kiriakos said. “I just want to hit line drives and stay out of the air.
“On the stolen base, after I stole second I saw that the shortstop backing up the ball didn’t have it, so I took off toward third. The third base coach told me to round the base hard and when there was a lazy throw back to the pitcher and stayed aggressive and took advantage. So you have to give credit to the coach for being alert and telling me to be aggressive.”
Down to their last three outs in the bottom of the ninth, Vallejo rallied for two more runs thanks to a RBI double by Brandon Williams and an RBI single by Michael Blanke that made it 9-5. Sadly for the Admirals faithful, however, that’s as close as they would get.
Vallejo will try and take the series on Thursday and Kiriakos hopes that how the Admirals played late in the game will carry over.
“We’ve had a lot of energy (in the second half), Kiriakos said. “Even when we’re down we’re not giving up and you could see that tonight.”
The series finale is set for 6:35 p.m. PT Thursday at Wilson Park in Vallejo. Tyler Stirewalt (4-3, 2.76) is scheduled to start for the Diamonds and left-hander Brent Adheen (1-3, 6.63) for the Admirals. The pregame show on the Admirals Baseball Network begins at 6:15 p.m. with Dave Grant.