The Bluefield Blue Jays topped the Pulaski Yankees 2-0 on Friday night at Calfee Park.
Blue Jays starting pitcher Maximo Castillo kept the Yankees lineup in check pitching five shutout innings while striking out four batters and walking one. He picked up the win to bring his season record to 1-0.
Bluefield jumped ahead in the top half of the 1st. Following back to back singles by Kevin Smith and Ryan Noda a wild pitch allowed runners to move into scoring position. Yorman Rodriguez then grounded out to Eduardo Torrealba at 2nd allowing Smith to score to give the Blue Jays a 1-0 lead.
The Yankees threatened to even the score in the bottom of the 3rd. Victor Rey walked and Pablo Olivares singled to put runners on 1st and 2nd. Jesus Bastidas sent a sharp hit into left and Rey tried to score but was gunned down at the plate on a laser throw from Blue Jays leftfielder McGregory Contreras to end the inning.
The Blue Jays extended their lead in the top of the 5th. Smith led off the inning with a base hit and later scored on an RBI single by Rodriguez to give Bluefield a 2-0 advantage.
The Yankees couldn’t answer in the bottom of the 5th. Frederick Cuevas doubled to begin the inning and Rey followed with an infield single. But the Yankees failed to capitalize as Torrealba and Olivares went down swinging and Bastidas flew out to center to leave runners stranded on the corners.
Yankees starter Alexander Vizcaino was chased from the game in the top of the 6th following a one out walk to Francisco Rodriguez. He pitched 5.1 innings giving up two earned runs on eight hits. He was tagged with the loss to even his season record at 1-1.
Daniel Ramos took over in relief getting Jesus Navarro to hit into a fielder’s choice before drilling Brandon Polizzi with a pitch to load the bases with two outs. Smith was able to work a full count but flew out to centerfield to leave the bases full.
Reliever Joe DiBenedetto worked himself into a jam in the bottom of the 7th but was able keep the Blue Jays lead intact. Fredrick Cuevas singled Rey walked to put runners on 1st and 2nd with one out. DiBendetto found a groove and set down Torrealba and Olivares on back to back strikeouts to end the inning.
DiBendetto stayed on to pitch in the 8th and 9th innings to secure the Blue Jays victory. In 4 innings of relief he surrendered just one hit and issued one walk while striking out seven batters. He was credited with his first save of the season.
The Yankees hit the road for a three game series in Johnson City but will return home on July 4th to square off against the Danville Braves. First pitch is set for 4 pm.