Catcher Orlando Mercado Earns Win as Pitcher

Catcher Orlando Mercado Earns Win as Pitcher

Most catchers would be tired after catching 14 innings on an 83-degree day. Not Orlando Mercado, who pitched a scoreless 15th inning to propel the Mobile BayBears to a 4-3 victory over the Jacksonville Suns.

Catcher Orlando Mercado has struggled offensively for the Mobile BayBears, batting .200 with just two homers, 14 RBI, and 14 runs scored in 140 at bats.  He continued those struggles Monday, going 0-for-5 with a walk, but also illustrated how he contributes to the team in other ways.  Usually, his skills behind the plate offset any struggles that he may endure beside it.  On this day, he made his primary contribution on the mound, turning in a fabulous one-inning relief performance in the 15th inning.

Hector Ambriz made a quality start, but got into some trouble in the 7th.  Vince Bongiovanni was unable to rescue Ambriz and let the lead get away in the eighth after a costly Guillermo Reyes error.  Abe Woody and Forrest Cory were the unheralded heroes of the day combining for six shutout innings of relief.  Their performance would be overshadowed by Mercado's appearance, as he allowed just one hit in a scoreless 15th inning, became th only BayBears pitcher that game not to walk a batter, and Fanned  southern League All-Star Jamie Hoffmann .  

Top Dodgers prospect Clayton Kershaw made his first Double-A start since being optioned down from Los Angeles. Kershaw worked six innings while giving up three runs on four hits with four strikeouts. All three BayBear runs off him scored in the second when a Brandon Burgess infield hit, a wild pitch, and an error brought the BayBears a 3-0 lead.

With the game tied up in the 15th, Bryan Byrne blasted a walk-off homer, his 4th homer in his last 10 games.  Byrne's game-winner came off Aldolfo Gonzalez (0-2), who played the first 13 frames at second base and collected four hits.  Every position player was used in the ballgame, and Jacksonville relief pitcher Travis Schlichting spent two innings playing first base. 

The game lasted four-and-a-half hours, making it the longest contest that the BayBears have played in this season.  Matt Morgan, a catcher for the Triple-A Tucson Sidewinders, has also tossed two scoreless innings this year.  Morgan is still looking for that elusive first win of the season, however.

Send questions or comments for Keith Glab to future_backs@yahoo.com


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