One of the highlights of this inaugural season for the Bowie Baysox has been the work of their pitching staff, which came into yesterday's game with a 2.68 ERA.
Bowie's most effective pitchers yesterday were a catcher and a shortstop. It was that kind of afternoon.
The Canton-Akron Indians pounded 20 hits and took a 20-4 victory over the Baysox before 4,680 at Memorial Stadium.
The Indians handed Bowie (14-7) its worst loss of the season and ended the Baysox's winning streak at three games. Canton (13-6) had dropped its last four after a fast start.
When asked if he said anything to his players afterward, Bowie manager Don Buford said, "No. They saw it as well as I did."
How strange was it?
By the sixth inning, third baseman Jose Millares was pitching and catcher Gregg Zaun was playing third. Millares walked in two runs and gave up a disputed grand slam to Brian Giles that initially was ruled foul by umpire Jeff Nelson.
Zaun and Millares switched places after Giles' blast, with the Indians leading, 20-0. Zaun got the last out, and the loudest ovation of the day.
Zaun moved back to third base in the ninth, after throwing 2 1/3 shutout innings. Shortstop Tim Holland pitched a scoreless ninth, striking out two.
"I just kept thinking about those guys hitting a line drive back at me," said Zaun, whose last professional outing consisted of one inning for Bluefield in 1990.
"I only shook off [catcher Jimmy] Roso once, and they got a base hit. Never, ever again will I shake Roso off."
Right-hander Erik Schullstrom couldn't get through the second inning in his first start of the season. Acquired on waivers from the San Diego Padres, Schullstrom had appeared in four games, allowing one run in 11 innings. Opposing hitters were batting .189 against him.
He probably wished he had stayed in the bullpen. Ten of the 12 batters he faced reached safely, and he left with two runners on, nobody out and a 6-0 deficit.
"He made some good pitches, but everything he threw was hit," Buford said. "Pitching behind in the count doesn't help."
Terry Farrar replaced Schullstrom in the second inning and retired one batter, on a called third strike. Before that, he gave up three runs on two hits, and walked two.
Canton scored four runs in the first inning and might have had more if Mike Sarbaugh hadn't been picked off third base with two outs. But the Indians knocked Schullstrom out of the game the next inning with a double and two singles.
Schullstrom also made a throwing error after deflecting a hard one-hopper up the middle, allowing the fifth run to score.
Holland committed the second error of the inning when he booted a double-play grounder from Jose Hernandez, as the 11th run scored. Right-hander Tommy Taylor came in and got Omar Ramierez -- batting for the third time -- to line into a double play.
Taylor went 3 2/3 innings and gave up three runs, including a lead-off homer to Ramirez in the fifth that landed 20 rows up in the left-field bleachers. It was Ramirez's first home run of the season.
Canton's Apolinar Garcia also made his first start yesterday after pitching four games in relief. He took a shutout into the eighth inning, before Jim Wawruck singled in a run and Brent Miller hit his fifth homer, a two-run shot.