Senators Homer Four Times in 7-6 Loss to Hartford
The Harrisburg Senators wasted an overpowering pitching performance from Reynaldo Lopez as the Hartford Yard Goats scored five runs off the bullpen to win 7-6. Harrisburg, who came into the game with the fewest home runs in the Eastern League, also hit four solo home runs in the losing effort.
For the second time in his last three starts, Lopez set a new career high in strikeouts as the right-hander set down 13 Yard Goat batters. The 22-year-old allowed two runs on five hits and a walk over seven innings.
“Chris (Michalak) has done an outstanding job getting him comfortable on the mound,” Washington Nationals’ minor league pitching coordinator Paul Menhart said. “In saying that, he has the ability now to make in-game adjustments. It’s more a mental approach to the game as opposed to worrying about where the ball is going. He’s confident and he’s learning how to pitch.”
But Hartford turned a 6-2 deficit into a one-run lead against the Senators’ bullpen in the eighth inning to change the fortunes of the game. Nick Lee loaded the bases on a hit batsman and two walks with no outs before yielding to John Simms.
Simms (3-3) induced a double play that scored a run, but ran into more trouble when he walked the next two Yard Goats to load the bases once again. One swing from Jackson Williams cleared the bases as the Hartford catcher deposited a pitch onto the boardwalk for a grand slam and the 7-6 lead.
Wilmer Difo, who hadn’t homered in his first 230 plate appearances this season, hit two solo shots for the Senators (30-27). “He’s starting to drive that ball a little bit, hitting that ball to the gaps. Hopefully, he can get that confidence going,” manager Matt LeCroy said.
Chris Bostick and Kevin Keyes also went yard as they became the first Senators to hit back-to-back home runs since July 10 of last season. Adrian Sanchez chipped in with a two-out, two-run single.
The Senators and Hartford Yard Goats look to decide the series with the rubber match of their three-game set on Thursday evening at 7:00 p.m. when Tyler Mapes squares off against Antonio Senzatela. The game can be heard on Fox Sports 1460 AM, on the internet at senatorsbaseball.com, or through the TuneIn and iHeart Radio apps with The Matt LeCroy Show beginning the radio broadcast at 6:45 p.m.