NILES - Mahoning Valley Scrappers manager Ted Kubiak never even paused as he walked by reporters who were waiting to discuss Sunday's game against Jamestown.
Rather than field questions, Kubiak simply strolled out the clubhouse door as he offered up a one-sentence summary of the contest.
"Good pitching, good defense and timely hitting gives you wins every time," Kubiak said.
Tribune Chronicle / Dave Dermer
Mahoning Valley’s Charlie Valerio (16) rounds third en route to a triple. Jamestown’s Yeison Hernandez is also pictured.
As simple as that, the Scrappers (17-17) brought their record to .500 with a 2-1 walk-off home win over the Jammers.
The hitting hero of the night was Robel Garcia, whose one-out single in the bottom of the ninth scored Erik Gonzalez. The inning began with Gonzalez singling to right. Until the ninth, the Scrappers had only mustered five hits.
Despite the lack of offense, the Scrappers were in a position to win thanks to another solid outing by starter Luis DeJesus. The right-hander worked five innings, giving up one run on four hits. He walked a pair and recorded a strikeout.
DeJesus (3-0), who didn't earn a decision, owns a 1.42 earned run average. He entered the game with the fifth-best ERA in the New York-Penn League.
While he admittedly didn't have his best stuff of the season, DeJesus was able to wiggle out of several jams thanks to some clutch defense.
"I felt a little drained, and it was hot out there. I tried to hit my spots today rather than trying to be overpowering," DeJesus said. "I was able to work out of some jams, and other times the guys behind me baled me out."
One such occasion came in the second inning, when the Jammers scored their only run of the game. After issuing a single, a walk and a wild pitch, DeJesus got out of further trouble when the Scrappers turned a double play. Jose Behar grounded out to third baseman Joe Wendle, whose throw to first was then relayed back to third to gun down a base runner.
The throw to third was taken by Garcia, the shortstop.
"That just goes to show that it's a team game and that everyone contributes to a good outing," DeJesus said. "I actually should have been covering the bag. I was standing on the mound watching the play and thinking to myself, 'I should have got over there.'"
The Scrappers tied the game at 1-1 in the fourth. Tyler Naquin led off with a double, then came around to score on a two-out hit by Joe Sever.
The Scrappers put the potential go-ahead run at third base in the sixth, seventh and eighth innings, but were unable to cross the plate until the ninth.
Relievers Robbie Aviles, Scott Peoples and Rafael Homblert provided the much-maligned Scrappers bullpen with four solid innings. Aviles worked the sixth, giving up a double and a walk but getting out of trouble. Peoples worked a perfect seventh, recording a pair of strikeouts. Homblert (1-0) picked up the win, pitching two scoreless innings while giving up just one hit.
The Scrappers offense mustered just nine hits while splitting the pair of weekend games against the Jammers.
"When you're out on the mound, you don't worry about the score, you don't think about the offense," DeJesus said. "My job is to just get outs. I'm looking to go deep into the game and I try not to adjust or rethink my approach depending on what our offense is doing."
"Our offense will be fine. It will come around."
The Scrappers play at Williamsport today and Tuesday, then return home Wednesday for the start of a six-game homestand. Staten Island and Brooklyn will each play three games at Eastwood Field.
TOP DOG: Scrappers pitcher Luis DeJesus continued his string of strong starts, surrendering just one run in five innings. He owns a team-best 1.42 ERA.
IN THE DOGHOUSE: Jammers catcher Jose Behar was 0-for-4, hitting into two double plays. Behar is batting .178 on the season.
BARK OF THE NIGHT: "Good pitching, good defense and timely hitting gives you wins every time," Scrappers manager Ted Kubiak.
KIBBLES N BITS: The Scrappers have surrendered 28 runs in the eighth inning this season. That accounts for 20 percent of runs given up. ... Infielder Joe Wendle leads the Scrappers in hitting (.337), hits (32), runs (17), doubles (10), triples (3), slugging percentage (.537) and on-base percentage (.407)
STADIUM SCRAPS: The Scrappers will welcome their two millionth fan later this week. They are just 6,710 fans shy of the mark. The one millionth fan visited Eastwood Field on Aug. 5, 2004.