Bill Richardson's Saturday began with an early-morning phone call from the Los Angeles Angels with news that a chunk of his Arkansas Travelers roster was changing for at least one day.
It ended with his Travs breaking out of their slump with runners in scoring position in a 4-1 victory over the Texas League's best team at Dickey-Stephens Park in North Little Rock.
"I'd love to sugar coat it and say it's another ballgame," Richardson said after his team scored runs in four consecutive innings to top the Corpus Christi Hooks. "We understand that's a good club over there, and to match them for one night to get to the rubber match, it means a lot."
Especially considering how the Travs entered the game.
The Travs were no-hit in a rain-shortened 1-0 loss to the Hooks on Friday night and entered Saturday 4 for 30 with runners in scoring position through the first four games of a six-game homestand.
The Travs squandered their first four opportunities Saturday night, too, before shortstop Eric Stamets hit a ball down the third-base line that scored Raywilly Gomez from third and gave the Travs a 1-0 lead in the fifth.
Then Brian Hernandez doubled in the sixth, Wade Hinkle singled and Hernandez scored on Kentrail Davis' fielder's choice. Sherman Johnson walked and scored on Cal Towey's double in the seventh, and Johnson added the final run with a sacrifice fly in the ninth.
The Travs were 3 for 12 with runners in scoring position Saturday, a sizable breakout after how the week had gone.
"It's always frustrating when you can't get guys through," said Towey, whose double was just his fourth extra-base hit of the month. "It felt good to get some runs through and help out the pitchers since they've been throwing really well."
Starter Albert Suarez continued that trend Saturday. The right-hander held Corpus Christi scoreless over 6 1/3 innings, giving up 2 hits, walking 2 and striking out 3 while improving to 5-3 and lowering his ERA to 2.53.
"He likes this stage," Richardson said of Suarez, who has a 1.98 ERA in six home starts.
Now Suarez can be considered the team's defacto ace after left-hander Tyler DeLoach was promoted to Class AAA Salt Lake for the second time this season Saturday morning. Right-handed reliever Kurt Spomer and outfielder D'Arby Myers also were promoted to Salt Lake on Saturday, and infielder Brock Bond was released.
Richardson said he received a call from the Angels at about 2:30 a.m. informing him of the moves. He called all players involved at about 9 a.m., and the three rented cars -- DeLoach drove alone while Myers and Spomer shared another car -- and drove to meet Salt Lake in Memphis.
Spomer pitched two scoreless innings in the 6-2 loss, while Myers didn't play. DeLoach, who was scheduled to start for Arkansas today, will likely start for Salt Lake today.
Richardson wasn't optimistic about the return of DeLoach this season.
"That's the one we don't know," Richardson said. "If I have a visual for it. I hope he has a couple of good starts and he's in Anaheim."
Michael Brady will take DeLoach's spot as the starter in today's homestand finale, but Richardson said he isn't sure if more roster help will arrive for the Travs, who pulled within 2 1/2 games of first-place Northwest Arkansas on Saturday.
"It's too early to tell," he said. "I think I know what they're going to do, but until they do it I better keep my hole shut. I don't think it's going to be anything too drastic."
Sports on 05/31/2015
Print Headline: Travs' batters offer up plenty of support