Price gets his win, as Pittsfield Suns down Westfield Starfires
PITTSFIELD — Pittsfield Suns pitcher Alex Price has been as good as any starter in the Futures League this summer. But in five previous starts, the left hander from Middlebury had yet to record a decision. Monday night, that all changed.
Price scattered two runs on four hits in six innings, and was backed up by a solid offensive performance as the league-leading Suns beat Westfield 10-4 at Wahconah Park.
"He deserves a win for sure," Suns catcher Matt Malcom said. "He's been pitching his butt off for a while now. He could be an All-Star selection, should be in my vote. He deserves a couple of wins and we got him one."
Price had come into the game having started four times in five appearances. In a team-high 26 innings, he had a 2.42 earned-run average, with 20 strikeouts and only four walks for Pittsfield (19-13).
On Monday night, Price held the Starfires (10-23) to two runs, one earned, in his outing. He walked two and struck out five. Price threw 77 pitches in his six innings, 53 of them were for strikes.
The only two runs he gave up came in the fifth. Tommy Quinn hit the first pitch of the fifth into the bullpens in left for a solo home run. It was the first home run given up by Price. The second run scored on an error.
"I don't really care about the wins and losses at all. The stuff I look at is the ERA and the WHIP [walks and hits per inning], and the walks too. As long as I'm keeping them down, I'm happy," said Price. "My two-seam [fastball] was really good. When it was low in the zone, I was getting people to roll over and getting people to swing over it, which was really good. My change-up complimented that really well."
The WHIP is walks plus hits per inning, and Price is down to 1.16, which is one of the better numbers in the league.
But as to that first win?
"It was kind of funny. Me and Geddy [manager Matt Gedman] had a thing with him asking me if I would ever get a win. We were kind of hoping to go the entire season without a win, and with a record of 0-0," Price said with a laugh. "It feels good to get a win finally."
The Suns got on the board in the first inning and never trailed.
With two outs, Caeden Trenkle singled to center. He went to second on a wild pitch and took third when Westfield catcher Tommy Quinn threw the ball into center field. Trenkle scored on an RBI double to left by Malcom. Malcom, who is now hitting .346, was 3 for 4 with two runs batted in and a run scored. He reached base four times.
When the sun delay hit after three innings, Price had a 4-0 lead, and was feeling pretty good about that.
"That was nice. It was nice to see some swings for some good hits," he said, "and see some things roll our way."
Westfield's two-run fifth inning had cut the Suns' lead to 4-2. Pittsfield extended it in the home fifth.
Malcom led off with a bloop double inside the right-field line off of Westfield starter Mitch McQuate. After Matt Valente walked, he was forced at second by Jack Culumovic. Jack Khawly then doubled down the left-field line, plating Malcom and Culumovic. When Khawly scored on a wild pitch by reliever Vincenzo Camori, the Suns went up 7-2.
Trenkle closed out the scoring with a two-run home run in the eighth inning. It was the future Oklahoma State Cowboy's third homer of the season. Trenkle was 2 for 5 with two RBI and two Runs scored. Culumovic also had two hits for the Suns.
Trenkle ended the game for the Suns, when he made a sliding catch of a sinking liner off the bat of Danny Crossen in left.
"Honestly, I think the catch was more fun," said Trenkle, when asked to compare that with the homer. "The bomb just happened. The catch, you can see it happening as you do it. I saw it the whole way. I had a good bead on it too, so I knew I had a good chance of catching it."
The Suns, now 6-4 in their last 10 games, bounced back from Sunday night's loss in a big way. It's been nearly two weeks since the team has lost more than one game at a time.
"Like I said, we have to get hits in big spots and let our pitchers do their jobs," said Trenkle.
Westfield 000 020 200 — 4 5 4
Pittsfield 121 031 02x — 10 9 3
McQuate (4), Camera (2/3), Albee (2 2/3), Vargas (2/3) and Quinn (7), D'Acunto (1). Price (6), Jezouit (1), Altiere (1), Henry (1) and Malcom. W — Price (1-0). L — McQuate (0-1). 2B W: Crossen. P: Malcom, Khawly. HR W: Quinn (1). P: Trenkle (3). T — 2:54 (25 minute sun delay). A — 601.
Howard Herman can be reached at email@example.com, at @howardherman on Twitter, or 413-496-6253.
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