One swing by West Michigan spoiled a career night for Bowling Green Hot Rods starter Blake Snell on Wednesday, as the Hot Rods fell 2-0 to the Whitecaps at Bowling Green Ballpark.
Snell threw a career-best six innings, striking out a career-high 10 hitters, but was done in by a two-run home run from Jeff Holm in the first.
“It was one pitch,” Snell said. “You can’t really hang your head or anything. I just hung (the pitch) and there it went, but really I felt I did really good. I threw a lot of strikes and my command was good. I’m happy with my performance. Everything was coming out good. It was just the one slider. That was it.”
Snell allowed three hits, all in the first inning. Holm had the biggest hit of the inning, taking a hanging slider and depositing it over the right-field wall for the only runs of the night.
Snell retired the final 16 batters he faced, striking out seven in a row at one point, but still took the loss – falling to 1-3 on the season.
“That was impressive what Blake Snell did out there today,” BG manager Jared Sandberg said. “No walks and 10 strikeouts, that was impressive. He showed what kind of stuff he really has. When he commands the strike zone with his fastball, then his secondary stuff plays. That’s exactly what he did today.”
Bowling Green (20-11) was unable to get Snell off the hook. Despite outhitting West Michigan 7-5, BG was shutout for the first time this season.
The Hot Rods left two runners on base in the first but didn’t get another at-bat with a runner in scoring position until the ninth. BG’s best chance to score before then came in the eighth, when Joey Rickard doubled with two outs, but was thrown out trying to stretch it into a triple.
“It’s a bang-bang play,” Sandberg said. “It was a great relay by them. They made the play. I felt like in that situation, yeah he probably should have stopped at second, but he made them make a play.”
The Hot Rods threatened in the ninth with two walks plus a wild pitch that put runners at second and third with two outs. Marty Gantt grounded out to the pitcher to end the threat.
“He’s been swinging it well all season long,” Sandberg said. “He was maybe a little over anxious and maybe tried to do too much, but it was the right guy in the right spot. He just didn’t get that big hit.”
Jordan John earned the win for West Michigan (14-16), allowing six hits with four strikeouts in 6 2/3 innings.
Jose Valdez closed it out for his sixth save of the season.
Gantt and Rickard finished with two hits each for the Hot Rods.
The series continues at 7:05 p.m. today with a battle of right-handers.
Dylan Floro (2-0, 1.35) will start for the Hot Rods. Endrys Briceno (0-2, 6.26) is scheduled to start for West Michigan.
*Former Bowling Green Hot Rod Derek Dietrich made his Major League debut with the Miami Marlins on Wednesday, starting at second base for the Marlins at San Diego.
Dietrich is the second former Hot Rods player to make a Major League roster, and the first position player. Pitcher Matt Moore, now in his second full season in the Tampa Bay Rays rotation, was the first former BG player to make the majors in September 2011.
Dietrich finished 1-for-3, singling in his first at-bat.
*Luke Maile had a season best six game hit streaked snapped.
*Patrick Leonard snapped an 0-for-13 skid with a single in the seventh.