(7/15/06) Statistically, the Mankato MoonDogs’ pitching staff has been the Northwoods League’s best this season, and with four pitchers who were represtented in this week’s All-Star Game, it’s easy to see why. On Saturday night, another key reason why was on display.
Catcher Brandon Davis slugged a second inning home run for the game’s only tally and helped keep the league’s second-most dangerous basestealing team in check, as his batterymate Tyson Brummett tossed seven innings of shutout ball to lift the MoonDogs to a 1-0 win over the Brainerd Blue Thunder.
With a steady breeze blowing in from right field, Davis’ towering drive went over the left field wall, his third home run of the season but first since June 5 in La Crosse. He also threw out the league’s fifth-leading hitter, Erik Huber, in the fourth inning to cut short a potential Brainerd rally.
With Davis and Ben Geelan alternating starts behind the plate all season, the MoonDogs have a firm grip on the lowest ERA in the league at 2.08 entering Saturday’s game.
Brummett earned his first win in his fifth start of the season by scattering just four hits and notching five strikeouts. Jason Novak recorded the final six outs to pick up his sixth save in as many opportunities. Brainerd starter Seth Gilleland was dealt his first loss of the season after starting 6-0.
Despite tallying just two hits (Nate Hanson had singled to lead off the second inning, but was caught stealing during Davis’ at-bat), the MoonDogs improved their second half record to 5-1 and won their third straight home game while playing their league-leading 22nd one-run game.