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Blasters cruise behind strong pitching

07/15/2016 11:57 PM -

JOPLIN, Mo. — Joplin defeated Kansas City, 7-2, Friday night at Joe Becker Stadium, thanks largely to Blaster starter Alex De La Cruz.

Things looked optimistic in the first inning for Kansas City. With two outs, Jake Blackwood smacked a solo homerun to left field against De La Cruz, giving the T-Bones an early lead. After the Blasters tied in the bottom of the first on a home run by Sean Smith, the T-Bones reclaimed the lead in the second. Starlin Rodriguez was hit by a pitch and advanced to third on a single by Vladimir Frias. Rodriguez scored when Joplin tried to get Frias stealing second, which gave the T-Bones a 2-1 lead.

In the bottom of the second, former T-Bones infielder Brandon Tierney led off the second inning getting hit by a pitch from T-Bones starter David Holman (3-4). Mark Krueger walked on the very next at-bat. After Alex Polston reached on an error, KC Huth lofted a sacrifice fly to left field that scored Tierney. Two batters later, Mitch Glasser scored Krueger with a base hit, giving Joplin a 3-2 lead.

That’s all De La Cruz needed. In picking up his first win of the season, De La Cruz (1-3) allowed only five baserunners — three hits, one walk and one hit batter — while striking out six in 7 innings.

Joplin held its 3-2 lead until the eighth inning, when the Blasters erupted for three runs against T-Bones reliever Brett Zawacki. Huth smacked a one-out double before Zawacki walked Sean Smith. After both runners advanced on a double steal, Glasser sent a single down the right field line that scored both Huth and Smith. Glasser circled the bases on back-to-back singles by Geraldo Valentin and Charlie Valerio, with Valerio’s scoring Glasser. That extended the Blasters’ lead to 7-2.

Kansas City (24-30) continues this three-game series with Joplin (17-36) Saturday night at 7:15. All of the action can be heard at TBonesBaseball.com.