SHREVEPORT, La. – For the first time this year, the ninth inning was not a sweaty one for the Shreveport-Bossier Captains, as they beat the El Paso Diablos 8-1 in front of 1,609 at Fair Grounds Field to salvage the final game of a three-game series. After the Captains' first 10 games this year ended with saves, Shreveport-Bossier (6-5) put a 4-1 game away with four runs in the seventh inning, allowing a pair of young relievers to finish things up.
Lefty Richard Salazar (1-0) went seven solid innings for the Captains to earn his first win of the season, allowing his only run on three straight singles to Jeff Vincent, Arnoldo Ponce and Bryon Smith in the third. By then, the Captains already had a 2-0 lead off D.J. Mattox (1-2), scoring in the first inning for the third straight game.
Jovanny Rosario led off the bottom of the first with a flyball double to right center, hustling into second base. After a popup single behind first for Bryan Sabatella, which Smith lost in the setting sun, Christopher Garcia reached when Mattox threw high to first on his comebacker. Andres Rodriguez then fouled out, but Jorge Alvarez came through with a two-run single to give the Captains the lead.
Salazar pitched around a jam in the second, holding the Diablos (4-6) scoreless after they had runners at second and third with one out, and got out of a two-runner jam in the sixth as well. Overall, he allowed eight hits and the one run in his outing, walking one and striking out four, throwing 60 of his 85 pitches for strikes.
The Captains extended their lead with two runs in the fifth inning, on one strange play. With Palmer Karr batting and runners at second and third and one out, Mattox uncorked a wild pitch. Garcia tried to score, and catcher Juan Medina threw wildly to the plate, allowing Alvarez to come all the way in from second.
In the seventh inning, Garcia led off with a walk, before a two-out homer by Karr, his third of the year, made it 6-1. After another walk to Frichter, Mattox departed, having walked five and struck out three, with seven hits and seven runs allowed (five earned) in his 6 2/3 innings. Alex Oles came in and walked Brian Peterson, before Uriak Marquez reached on an infield single to load the bases. Rosario then bounced a 3-1 pitch down the third base line, which Oles fielded, but his throw was too late to get the speedy Rosario, and it bounded away for an error and another run.
Cody Railsback struck out two in a 1-2-3 eighth inning, and rookie Turner Brasher out of local LSU-Shreveport shut the door in the ninth, allowing a walk and a hit but striking out a pair in his first professional outing.
Notes: Karr's homer ties him with Garcia for the team lead…El Paso outhit the Captains 36-31 in the three-game series…Alvarez extended his hitting streak to 10 after going hitless on opening day…Provencher left the game after being hit on the wrist with a grounder in the bottom of the eighth.