NILES - The Scrappers' slumbering offense finally showed signs of life with six runs in a four-run win over the Williamsport Crosscutters Tuesday.
The good times lasted all of 24 hours. The Scrappers went back into hibernation Wednesday as three pitchers limited them to two hits in a 2-1 loss to the Crosscutters before 2,920 at Eastwood Field.
Scrappers manager Ted Kubiak received strong performances from starting pitcher Robbie Aviles and reliever Josh Martin, but Mahoning Valley couldn't quite match the efforts of Crosscutters starter Delvin Perez and relievers Nicholas Hanson and Zach Cooper. Perez yielded two hits and one run in five innings to earn the win. Hanson was perfect in three innings of work, and Cooper pitched a perfect ninth.
Tribune Chronicle / R. Michael Semple
Mahoning Valley Scrappers Joe Sever is forced out at second base by Williamsport Crosscutters shortstop Roman Quinn as Crosscutters second baseman Tyler Green looks on during Wednesday’s game at Eastwood Field. The Scrappers lost, 2-1.
"We kind of went very weakly tonight. We didn't hit very much," Kubiak said. "They pitched well and played well. The game was clean on both sides. There's not much you can say. You don't hit, you don't score."
The Scrappers (3-7) are averaging just 2.9 runs per game. They've scored two or fewer runs in seven of their 10 games.
It's too early in the New York-Penn League for Kubiak to get overly concerned about the lack of offense.
"Everybody is in the same boat," Kubiak said. "I think the drafts wind up being the same. The clubs are pretty even. It's whoever is doing a certain thing on a certain night. I think we have some guys that can hit the ball. You can't talk about it. You have to do it."
Aviles started and worked five strong innings. He allowed one run on five hits with no strikeouts and one walk.
Martin entered in the sixth inning and promptly gave up a solo home run to leadoff hitter Chris Serritella. Martin then walked Larry Greene and yielded a single to Yan Carlos Olmo before settling down and retiring three straight batters without giving up another run.
"I worked on my command and got a little better tonight," said Aviles, who allowed three runs in four innings in his first start. "I threw a lot more two-seamers and sinkers. So it felt good."
Martin, who pitched the final four innings, got stronger in the late innings. He finished with seven strikeouts, including six in a row to finish off his outing.
"For some reason I can't strike out anyone anymore," Aviles said. "He (Martin) threw the ball great. It was great having him come in and relieve me."
After allowing one run in the second inning, the Crosscutters retired 22 of the final 23 batters. Joseph Wendle reached on a two-out single in the fourth inning, but he was caught stealing after a strong pick-off move by Perez. The last 15 Scrappers were retired.
"They have young pitchers over there, too," Kubiak said. "I don't think we saw anything that was terribly difficult. It's guys learning how to hit. They didn't hit much either even though they had seven hits."
Mitch Walding drove in Larry Greene with a single in the second inning to give the Crosscutters a 1-0 lead. Greene opened the inning with a single. He advanced to second on a fielder's choice.
The Scrappers tied the score in the bottom of the second when Perez balked with Wendle at third. Wendle walked with one out and moved to third on a single by Hunter Jones.
Kubiak would gladly take a combined performance like the one staged by Aviles and Martin in the future.
"They pitched well," Kubiak said. "Martin did a great job. After the guy hit the home run, I think he got a little upset and started throwing a little better. His breaking ball had a little bite to it, and he threw a cutter, which we didn't know he had. So we learned something tonight."
The Scrappers begin a three-game series tonight at home against State College.