P-Nats close out Blue Rocks
After a rocky first inning, Paul Demny settled in and dominated the Wilmington Blue Rocks. He struck out a career high ten and allowed just two hits after a two-run first, as the Potomac Nationals survived a rocky ninth to win 7-5 at Frawley Stadium on Thursday afternoon.
Demny, coming off two disastrous road starts, appeared rattled early. Three straight one-out hits in the first inning scored a pair and put the Blue Rocks in front 2-0. But Demny got the next two outs and was outstanding from then on. He retired nine straight hitters and allowed only two more baserunners through seven innings and earned his seventh win as the Nationals moved to 20-13 in the second half, nine games ahead of Wilmington in the second half standings.
With their record at 49-53 overall, the Nationals also moved to four games under .500 for the first time since the first day of May.
The Nationals seized the lead back for Demny in the top of the second. Consecutive singles by Steven Souza and J.R. Higley set the table for an inning, but Cutter Dykstra’s double play appeared to stem the tide. However, Eury Perez bunted for a single to score Souza and cut the lead in half. Francisco Soriano rocked the very next pitch over the left field wall for his fifth home run and a 3-2 Potomac lead.
The P-Nats added four runs in the last three innings – and would end up needing them. Dykstra hit his first homer of the season in the seventh; Souza crushed a two-run double in the eighth and Destin Hood smacked a run-scoring double in the top of the ninth to make it 7-2 Potomac.
Neil Holland pitched a scoreless eighth, but allowed a two-out, three-run homer to Julio Rodriguez in the ninth that trimmed the lead to two at 7-5. Rob Wort was brought on to get the last out; he retired Gerard Hall to earn his third save.
The Nationals took three of four from Wilmington and four of seven on the road trip.
Potomac welcomes the first-half champion Frederick Keys to Woodbridge for a three-game series beginning Friday night at 7:05. Adam Olbrychowski takes the mound the Nats against Bobby Bundy.