(6/14/06) Steve Salas is known in some circles as "Mini Zambrano," for his striking resemblence to Chicago Cubs pitcher Carlos Zambrano. "Hard Luck Loser" would be a name just as fitting.
Salas pitched a complete game – his second of the season – but it was not enough as the Mankato MoonDogs fell to the Eau Claire Express 1-0 Wednesday night.
In striking out 10 in his nine innings, Salas joined the league leaders in strikeouts with 23 this season. He joined Brainerd’s Brad Hutt as the only Northwoods League pitchers to throw two complete games.
But Salas gave up the one run that made the difference. In the third, Kraig Binick led off with a single and moved to second on a sacrifice bunt. With two outs, Casey Garms singled up the middle to score the game’s only run.
Eau Claire starter Travis Kempf was equally impressive, allowing only three hits over eight innings to earn his first win of the season. The MoonDogs had a runner reach second base just twice on the nightm and their best scoring chance came right away in the first inning.
Ryan Addison led off the frame with a line drive up the middle, and Kinick slipped while reaching for the ball to allow Addison to glide into second with a double. But Nate Hanson popped up a sacrifice bunt attempt, and Robert Rodebaugh lined back to Kempf, who fired to second to double off Addison and end the threat.
Kempf would go on to combine with Brendon Smith to retire the final 10 batters of the night.