When starting pitchers have a fastball that doesn't get above 90 mph, there's usually a common theme among them if they're successful.
York Revolution pitching coach Mark Mason talks about it all the time. Without a lightning-quick heater, a starter has to rely on his off-speed pitches.
Making his first start in a Revs' uniform on Thursday night, left-hander Derrick Gordon learned that early in the first inning, when he left a fastball over the plate for Bridgeport leadoff man Edgardo Baez, who crushed it over the wall in left-center field.
"The first five pitches of the night he (Gordon) threw were fastballs and one was over (the plate) and hit out of the park," Mason said. "So, I told him 'change what you're doing.'"
From there, Gordon used more of his off-speed pitches, mainly a curveball and a changeup, while occasionally mixing in his fastball, which topped out around 87 mph.
Gordon went on to hold Bridgeport scoreless the next four innings. After right-hander Adam Thomas tossed a scoreless inning in the top of the sixth, the rain started to come down in the bottom half of the inning, sending the 2,637 fans scattering at Sovereign Bank Stadium.
With the bases loaded and a 3-1 count on James Shanks, the umpires signaled a rain delay before ultimately calling the game about 35 minutes later, allowing Thomas to pick up his fourth save and giving York a rain-shortened 3-1 victory over Bridgeport (35-42 overall, 4-3 second half) in the series finale of a four-game set.
It gave the Revs (38-39, 2-5) just their second win of the second half and their second victory in the last nine games.
York scored all three of its runs in the second inning off Bridgeport starter Dan Serafini (3-1), who entered with an impressive 2.73 ERA, on a total of three hits, a walk and an error.
Gordon: Gordon, a former Oakland Athletics' prospect, opted not to return to Somerset this year because he wanted to play closer to his home in Sugar Land.
But unlike the 2.63 ERA he compiled in 11 starts for Somerset in 2011, the lefty struggled with the Skeeters, compiling a 6.44 ERA in eight starts and seven relief appearances.
The difference? Well, Mason and Revs manager Andy Etchebarren felt Gordon relied more on his off-speed pitches a year ago. So, they acquired him from Sugar Land earlier this week with the plan to get him back on that path.
"He (Mason) just told me after the first inning to mix in my off-speed a little more," Gordon said afterwards. "I did it. It worked out for me."
Gordon allowed a total of just five hits while striking out one.
Game notes: York saw the return of outfielder Brandon Haveman to the lineup after missing the last six games for personal reasons. Etchebarren stuck him right back at the top of the lineup and moved outfielder Jeff Fiorentino, who was York's leadoff man in Haveman's absence, down to the No. 5 spot. ... Outfielder Scott Grimes was back at the No. 2 spot in the lineup after being moved down near the bottom the last two games. ... Shanks (2-for-2, run scored) is now one hit shy of matching Keoni DeRenne's all-time Revs record of 357 career hits. ... York snapped a streak of 11 straight losses when the opposition scored first. ... York will next hit the road for six games, beginning Thursday with a three-game set at Camden (38-37, 4-2), where York right-hander Corey Thurman (8-2, 4.68 ERA) will get the start.
-- Reach John Walk at firstname.lastname@example.org.