NILES - One night after the bullpen surrendered the game-winning runs in a 7-6 loss to Aberdeen, the Mahoning Valley Scrappers got a much better effort from their pitching Saturday night.
Making his first start of the season after three relief appearances, Josh Martin, along with Jacob Lee and Louis Head, combined to allow just seven hits and strike out seven as the Scrappers defeated Connecticut 5-3.
"The arms out of (the bullpen) are good, (Lee) and Head tonight. They've got some good arms," Scrappers manager Ted Kubiak said.
Martin made only one major mistake, surrendering a three-run home run to Danry Vasquez with one out in the top of the third inning that tied the game 3-3.
"Just first-game jitters, I guess you could say," said Martin, who retired eight of the last nine batters he faced after the homer. "I kind of got into a routine of too many fastballs early. We really needed to get inside on (Vasquez). I left one over the plate. I started putting a little bit better mix (of pitches after that)."
"It was a good pitch to that kid," Kubiak said. "The ball was down, the kid hit it. I didn't like seeing a three-run homer, but it was better than that home run last night off that stupid curveball."
Martin (2-1) allowed just the three runs (two earned) and five hits with three strikeouts in five innings.
"When I was coming out of the bullpen, I was still trying to keep the starter mentality," he said.
"I knew that's the long-term plan (the Indians) want for me. It's a little bit different, getting warmed-up wise."
Kubiak was pleased.
"He's good. I liked what he does. He's got a good arm," Kubiak said. "It took him a while to get everything together. He fits right in with all the new guys we've got that can throw."
Mahoning Valley got off to a 1-0 lead in the first inning as Aaron Siliga tripled with one out and scored on a single by Joe Wendle.
Siliga scored again in the fifth as he doubled and came around on a base hit by Charlie Valerio. Valerio scored later that inning from third as Erik Gonzalez reached on an error by first baseman Juaner Aguasvivas to put the Scrappers ahead 5-3.
"It's real big when your team comes through and drives you in," Siliga said. "It takes more than one person to get that kind of work done.
"We try really hard to get (runs) early and often. We usually have a tendency to start playing hard and coming through late during the game."
It was one of five errors the Tigers committed in the game.
Siliga singled in the eighth for his third hit of the game and finished just a home run short of the cycle.
The Scrappers continue their series against Connecticut at 5:05 today.