The quest to take over first place ended a long time ago. Now, the Bowie Baysox are trying to stay above .500, and in the upper half of the Eastern League standings.
They didn't do themselves any favors last night, coming up way short against a pitcher with an inflated ERA and a team with a losing record.
Opponents were hitting .333 against London Tigers starter Jason Pfaff, but given plenty of support, he coasted past the Baysox, 12-3, before 5,139 at Memorial Stadium.
Pfaff (4-5) brought a 6.50 ERA into the game, and memories of a quick exit against the Baysox in a previous start in May. This time, he lasted seven innings and gave up just one run, struck out seven and walked none.
He retired 11 batters in a row before a two-out single by catcher Cesar Devarez in the fifth inning.
"We didn't hit tonight," said Bowie manager Don Buford, whose team is in third place, 15 games behind Harrisburg. Albany-Colonie is fourth, 16 games back. The top four teams make the playoffs. "From the hitters' standpoint, I don't know what they saw, but we just didn't get hits.
"Hopefully, the players will come back and play hard tomorrow and forget about tonight's game. Anytime you lose, you hope it's a learning experience for your ballplayers."
The Baysox (53-49) staked right-hander Jose Mercedes to an early lead, but it was fleeting.
Jason Alstead grounded the first pitch from Pfaff into right field, and advanced to third one out later on a hit-and-run single by Edgar Alfonzo. T. R. Lewis bounced to first, scoring Alstead.
London right fielder Rudy Pemberton saved another run when he raced to the warning track to snare a long drive from Jim Wawruck with two outs. And in the second inning, he evened the score with a home run into the bleachers in right.
NOTE: Tomorrow and Sunday, Red Cross representatives will be at Memorial Stadium before the games with equipment to type blood, a process that takes five minutes. Everyone who registers for "summer bloodwatch" will receive half-price admission to the game, and the first 1,000 participants each day will receive a souvenir bat and pen.