After back-to-back one-run defeats to Wisconsin, the Clinton LumberKings returned the favor behind right-hander Roenis Elias on Thursday night.
Making his Midwest League debut — and just his fifth appearance since signing with the Seattle organization — Elias limited the Timber Rattlers to five hits and one unearned run over 6 1/3 innings to earn the win in the 3-2 victory at Time Warner Cable Field.
The LumberKings scored a run in the top of the first and never trailed in the contest despite several close calls late.
Robbie Anston drew a leadoff walk in the first inning from right-hander Matt Miller and scored on a two-out flare single inside the right-field line by Stefen Romero.
Kevin Rivers doubled down the right-field line off Miller in the fourth, moved to third on a Romero groundout and scored on a wild pitch to raise the lead to 2-0. The LumberKings scored again in the sixth inning as Anston doubled to right-center and scored on a line drive to center by Julio Morban.
Elias, a native of Guantanamo, Cuba, mixed speeds and locations to keep the Rattlers off balance all night, striking out four and walking two. He faced only two significant jams, getting Franklin Romero Jr. to fly out to right to strand runners at first and second in the fifth inning, then leaving runners behind at the corners with one out after a Chad Stang double and a walk to Nick Ramirez in the seventh.
The only run Elias allowed came as right-handed reliever Jessie Nava allowed Stang to come home on a groundout to second by Greg Hopkins. Nava gave up an unearned run of his own in the eighth as Reggie Keen reached on a fielding error by shortstop Anthony Phillips and scored on a sacrifice fly by Jason Rogers. A diving catch by Rivers in right field robbed Rogers of a hit that might have driven in two runs.
Right-hander Matt Bischoff then came on and yielded a single to Joey Paciorek, putting runners at the corners. He’d end the threat and preserve the 3-2 lead by striking out Stang looking. Bischoff worked a perfect ninth, striking out two, including Mike Brownstein swinging to end the game.
Miller (4-6) lost despite a quality start for Wisconsin, giving up three runs on four hits over seven innings.
Rivers went 2 for 4 with a run scored for the Kings. Stang finished 3 for 4 with a double and a run scored for the Timber Rattlers.
The LumberKings (20-19) conclude the series with the Timber Rattlers (16-23) at 7:05 tonight. Right-hander Taijuan Walker (4-5, 3.12 ERA) starts for Clinton against Wisconsin left-hander Charly Bashara (4-4, 5.12).