The bases were loaded with two outs in a one-score ballgame.
Camden Riversharks' starting pitcher Jake Hale was close to avoiding more trouble on Sunday evening at Santander Stadium. The 6-foot, 7-inch right-hander had already given up a run in the second inning to the York Revolution. Now Hale was staring down Revs' batter Wilson Valdez, an infielder with more than 400 games of big league experience.
Hale had worked the count to 0-2 against Valdez with a fastball and a changeup. Like many pitchers in that situation, Hale opted to throw a breaking ball to Valdez in the hopes of getting him to chase and swing at a pitch out of the zone.
Valdez, a 35-year-old veteran in his 16th year as a pro, was too wise to let the pitch pass him by. The former Philadelphia Phillies' shortstop drilled the pitch high to left field, with the ball hitting off the wall. Valdez strolled into second base with a bases clearing two-out, three-run double. It extended the Revs' lead to four runs and proved to be the difference in York's 5-3 win over Camden in the second game of a doubleheader.
Sunday was split into a pair of seven-inning games because Friday's game was rained out.
York had pulled out a walk-off, 3-2, victory in Game 1, with infielder Ofilio Castro knocking in the game-winning run on an RBI single in the bottom of the seventh inning. The victories completed a season-opening four-game sweep of the Riversharks. York (4-0) is off to the franchise's best start since 2011 (7-0).
"He threw me a good changeup," Valdez said of the bases-loaded 0-2 pitch Hale issued to him in the second inning at-bat. "I was sitting on it and I got a good piece of wood (on the ball)."
The Revs were actually outhit, 10-5, in the first game and left 11 runners stranded on base, but York took advantage of nine walks issued by Camden pitchers. Revs' batters were again outhit in Game 2, 8-5, but they scored on Salvador Paniagua's RBI single and Valdez's three-run double in the second inning, and tacked on the last run in the fifth inning on an error by Camden's shortstop and a balk by Hale (0-1).
Valdez, Paniagua and Revs' lead-off man Sean Smith have each gone 4-for-11 at the plate to start the season and are tied for the team-lead in batting average (.364).
Pitching: Starting pitcher Alain Quijano made his Revs' debut in Game 1 by holding Camden (0-4) scoreless on six hits in four innings with four strikeouts and two walks. Left-hander Rommie Lewis (1-0) earned his first win of the year with a scoreless seventh inning.
In Game 2, Revs' veteran right-hander Corey Thurman made his season debut by going 4.1 innings, allowing three runs on five hits. Coming off one of his worst years as a pro in 2013, Thurman struck out four with no walks.
"Last year was such a rough one, for me personally and for us as a team," Thurman said. "I just wanted to get back out there. We're winning right now and I just want to keep the streak going."
Reliever Julio DePaula (1-0) picked up the win in his 2014 debut with 1.2 scoreless innings of work. Right-hander Mike Wuertz earned his first save of the season with a scoreless seventh.
War of the Roses: York is off Monday before next hosting Lancaster on Tuesday and Wednesday in the first War of the Roses games of the season. Former big leaguer Mike McClendon will get the start for the Revs on Tuesday, with first pitch slated for 6:30 p.m.
Game notes: Former Revs' reliever Ian Thomas earned his first big league win of his career Sunday in relief for the Atlanta Braves, becoming the third Revs alum to earn a major league win. ... combined attendance for Sunday's games was 3,082 fans.
— Reach John Walk at firstname.lastname@example.org.