By Bryan Levine, SunCoast Sports
PORT CHARLOTTE — If patience truly is a virtue, the Charlotte Stone Crabs were as noble as it gets on Friday night.
The Stone Crabs erupted for 11 runs in the first four innings against a pitcher who had trouble finding the strike zone on the way to a 11-2 win over the Fort Myers Miracle at Charlotte Sports Park.
“It’s obviously fun to score a lot of runs, and to do it early and take the pressure off our starter is always a good thing,” said Charlotte manager Michael Johns, whose team got the rout started with four runs in the first. “A lot of things get overshadowed when we score a lot of runs. Defensively, we played really well (starting pitcher Genesis Cabrera) was great, and our bullpen was awesome.”
Miracle starter Chris Anderson threw 80 pitches in the loss, only 42 of which went for strikes.
With the Stone Crabs in plenty of hitters’ counts, they struck for 11 hits off Anderson, adding only one more in the final five innings off relievers. They did have another six base runners either on walks or hit by pitches.
“I thought Anderson did a good job of getting his command (after the first inning), but our guys did a better job of making him pitch in the strike zone,” Johns said. “We were really patient. We just kept having good at-bat after good at-bat and it felt like it was contagious tonight.”
Catcher Brett Sullivan was Anderson’s biggest tormenter, going 3-for-3 with two triples, three runs batted in and three scored. Sullivan improved his season batting average to a team-high .336 while upping his RBI total to 22 for the season.
Ryan Boldt added to his team-best RBI total with another pair, giving him 24 on the season. Boldt went 2-for-4 with two runs scored.
Cabrera continued his excellent month of May. He brought a no-hitter into the fourth inning, and surrendered just one run on one hit with four strikeouts and four walks in six innings.
Since the calendar turned from April, Cabrera has given up just two runs in his last three starts. His ERA on the month sits at 1.00 after pitching to a 5.32 ERA in April.
“He keeps making good improvements,” Johns said. “The biggest thing for him is he’s listening. He’s trying to make adjustments. He’s a competitive kid, and when we get him in the strike zone, his stuff is as good as anyone in the league.”
The Stone Crabs made it over the .500 mark for the first time this season, winning their fourth game in a row. They will look for the series sweep at 6:05 p.m. today.