CLINTON — Scott Steinmann says he won’t hesitate to call on Jarrett Brown the next time the reliever’s turn comes around to pitch out of the dugout.
One bad inning won’t sway the Clinton manager’s mind.
Brown recorded just one out in the sixth inning, and Beloit took advantage of his control issues to score four runs to reclaim the lead before holding off the the LumberKings for a 7-5 victory in the rubber game of a Midwest League baseball series at Ashford University Field.
“Brownie has been pretty good for us,” Steinmann said. “He’s done a real good job. I didn’t expect that at all, and I have no problem giving him the ball tomorrow ... or the next night or the following night.
“He’s a competitor. He’s probably more disappointed than anybody in that clubhouse, and that’s what I like, that he wants the ball again, and I’ll give it to him.”
Brown replaced Daniel Missaki to open the sixth inning with Clinton leading 5-3. But, he ran into trouble quickly.
Joe Bennie led off with a walk, then Jose Chavez lined a double into the right-field corner, putting runners on second and third. Brown got a brief reprieve when Edwin Diaz flew out to shallow center field but loaded the bases when he walked Brett Vertigan.
The Snappers pulled within 5-4 when first baseman Wayne Taylor couldn’t handle Trent Gilbert’s sharp grounder to the right side, the error leaving the bases loaded. Next, Brown threw a wild pitch that allowed the tying run to score, then his night ended when Max Kuhn drove in the go-ahead run with a single into left field.
“It happens here; it happens in the big leagues,” Steinmann said of the rough outing. “It’s baseball. It happens with starters and relievers. Sometimes a guy just doesn’t have it. It’s just the nature of the beast that we play, and tonight wasn’t his night.
Sandber Pimentel greeted Osmer Morales with a sacrifice fly to make it 7-5, but Morales and newcomer Nick Kiel retired the final 11 batters to keep Clinton close.
The LumberKings had their chances, too, but couldn’t score against Beloit’s bullpen.
Gianfranco Wawoe, whose solo home run in the fourth inning gave Clinton a 5-3 lead, led off the bottom of the sixth with an infield single that ended the night for starter and winning pitcher Brett Graves (1-0).
Reliever Corey Miller threw a wild pitch, then struck out Adam Martin and Martin Peguero before walking Chantz Mack and Nelson Ward to load the bases. But Alex Jackson, Seattle’s top draft pick last June, flew out to deep left field to end the threat.
The LumberKings had just one more base runner. Mack led off the ninth with an infield hit, but Trevor Bayless got a fielder’s choice and two strikeouts to end the game and earn his first save. The final strikeout came on a 2-2 pitch to Joe DeCarlo, the league leader with four home runs.
“We were one swing from tying it, and Joe DeCarlo had, I thought, a pretty good at-bat at the end there,” Steinmann said. “He missed a couple of pitches, but if it’s the tying or winning run, I like Joe DeCarlo up there.”
In a rematch of the opening-night starters, both Missaki and Graves were effective with the exception of one inning for each.
The Snappers got to Missaki for three runs and five hits — one a single off Missaki’s leg — in the top of the second inning. Pimentel led off with a fly-ball double that got over the head of left fielder Estarlyn Morales, and later, Diaz drove in two runs with a two-out single.
“That three-run inning started with a fly ball that we lost in the twilight and clouds ... and that could have been a first-pitch out,” Steinmann said. “When you get a first-pitch out of an inning, they usually don’t score three runs.
“But, I like how he competed, especially after getting hit by the ball in the calf. He didn’t let it bother him at all. He didn’t use it as an excuse. He went out there and competed and gave us five solid innings.”
Clinton did most of its damage an inning later.
Peguero hit a one-out single and scored on Mack’s third triple of the season. Nelson Ward walked, then both he and Mack scored when Bennie, who was playing deep with a strong wind blowing out to left field, raced in but couldn’t catch Jackson’s fly ball to left field that went for a double. Jackson tried to make it to third on the play but was thrown out. Joe DeCarlo followed with a single and scored the go-ahead run on Taylor’s double.
“We kind of just needed that one more hit,” Steinmann said. “We left some guys on base. Just one more hit would have put it over the edge, I think, and given us a little more breathing room.”
Kiel, a left-hander, and right-handed pitcher Troy Scott joined the LumberKings on Monday from extended spring training. Kody Kerski, who hadn’t allowed a run in 4 2/3 innings, was transferred to the Everett roster, and Ramire Cleto (0-0, 3.52 ERA) was placed on the seven-day disabled list.
Clinton is back on the road today — returning to Geneva, Illinois — to start a three-game series at Kane County. The LumberKings took two of three from the Cougars in the same park last week.
Beloit ab r h bi Clinton ab r h bi
Vertigan cf 4 1 1 0 Mack cf 4 1 2 1
Gilbert 2b 5 1 0 1 Ward 2b 3 1 1 0
Kuhn 1b 5 0 2 1 Jackson rf 5 0 1 2
Pimentel dh 3 1 1 1 DeCarlo dh 5 1 2 0
Duinkerk rf 5 1 2 0 Taylor 1b 4 0 2 1
Munoz ss 3 0 0 1 EMorales lf 4 0 1 0
Bennie lf 3 2 2 0 Wawoe ss 4 1 2 1
Chavez c 4 1 1 0 Martin c 4 0 0 0
Diaz 3b 4 0 1 2 Peguero 3b 4 1 1 0
Totals 36 7 10 6 Totals 37 5 12 5
Beloit 030 004 000 — 7
Clinton 004 100 000 — 5
E — Munoz (5), Taylor (1). LOB — Beloit 7, Clinton 8. 2B — Pimentel (6), Chavez (1), EMorales (2), Jackson (3), Taylor (2). 3B — Mack (3). HR — Wawoe (2). SF — Munoz, Pimentel. SB — Duinkerk (1), Bennie (2).
IP H R ER BB SO
Graves W 1-0 5 11 5 5 1 6
CMiller 2 0 0 0 2 4
Huber 1 0 0 0 0 0
Bayless S 1 1 1 0 0 0 2
Missaki 5 8 3 3 1 7
Brown L 1-1 1/3 2 4 3 2 0
OMorales 1 2/3 0 0 0 0 0
Kiel 2 0 0 0 0 1
Graves pitched to 1 batter in 6th.
WP — Miller, Brown. PB — Martin (2). U — Richard Genera (p), Brandon Butler (b). T — 3:05. Att. — 501.