Manny Banuelos leads the way over Reading
TRENTON -- Tony Franklin sounded like a rerun.
“He’s been better,” the Thunder manager said of winning pitcher Manny Banuelos. “He wasn’t sharp with his location or control of his pitches.
“Once again, the question is when you don’t have your good stuff, how good is he going to be? I think he was pretty good.”
That was essentially what Franklin had said the night before about Dellin Betances. Once again, the result was similar -- only the score was different. This time the Thunder beat the Reading Phillies by a 4-2 count.
The 20-year-old Banuelos threw 84 pitches as he worked the first five innings to pick up not only his first win of the season but his first regular-season victory since 2009. Like his manager, he wasn’t at all satisfied with his control.
“I gave up two walks. That’s bad for me,” he said. “I have to work on my command and throw more strikes.”
Both of the walks led to runs for Reading.
A two-out pass to Derrick Mitchell in the second inning was followed by a stolen base and a run-producing single by Michael Spidale.
In the fifth, Paco Figueroa drew a full-count walk and came around on Tuffy Gosewisch’s double into the right-center gap.
By that time the Thunder had staked Banuelos to a substantial lead, with a little help from Reading’s defense.
Bradley Suttle drove in a first-inning run with a single that was little more than a misjudged fly ball.
Corban Joseph opened the second with a triple into the right-field corner and scored on Ray Kruml’s single off the glove of Reading second baseman Figueroa. Kruml managed to steal second and third before scoring an unearned run when shortstop Freddy Galvis committed the first of his two boots.
Cody Johnson slammed his fourth homer of the year with one out in the third.
From then on it was up to the pitching and the defense. Better make that the defense and the pitching. Just as Reading’s defense had been shoddy, Trenton’s was superb. Shortstop Jose Pirela was especially noteworthy by starting two critical double plays.
“Those are the type of plays that sort of stem the tide,” Franklin said.
After Banuelos left, Franklin paraded Pat Venditte, Tim Norton, Wilkins Arias and Fernando Hernandez to the mound for one-inning stints. All gave up hits but all worked out of trouble, usually with help from the infield, leaving the visitors in a state of frustration.
“They’re a good team from a good organization, just like we are,” said Franklin. “We won these first two, but we know we’ll have tough games with them all season.”