All-Stars, Pujols and Leftwich, Lead BlueClaws Past Kannapolis
Jose Pujols supplied the power. Luke Leftwich supplied the pitching.
Pujols boomed a grand slam and Leftwich fanned eight over five scoreless innings, leading the host Lakewood BlueClaws past the Kannapolis (N.C.) Intimidators 9-1 in South Atlantic League play at FirstEnergy Park on Saturday night.
Lakewood (29-39) has taken two of the first three games of the series from the Chicago White Sox’s affiliate (23-46) with the first-half finale on Sunday afternoon.
Pujols’ grand slam, which tied him for the league lead with 12 home runs, was the first by a Lakewood player since Deivi Grullon last Aug. 30 at Greensboro.
Meanwhile, Leftwich, named a mid-season All-Star Friday, struck out eight, walked one and allowed twp hits. He threw one wild pitch. In his last three starts, he has thrown 20 scoreless innings with no walks and 27 strikeouts. The righty heads to the break with a 2.00 earned run average. He leads the low Class A circuit with 88 strikeouts.
Leftwich was drafted by the Philadelphia Phillies, Lakewood’s parent club, on the seventh round last June out of Wofford College (S.C.).
Lakewood scored two runs in the first as Josh Tobias plated a run with a groundout and Damek Tomscha followed with an RBI double.
Grullon ripped a fastball to the opposite field off the wall in right-center for a two-run double and a 4-0 lead in the fourth.
Lakewood erupted for five runs in the fifth for a 9-0 lead. Tobias made it 6-0 with a sacrifice fly and Pujols followed with his blast to the delight of the 7,269 fans. It was his second home run in as many nights.
Eight BlueClaws stroked hits. Zach Coppola had three and Grullon added two.
Lakewood’s Skylar Hunter threw two scoreless innings in relief. Teammate Sutter McLoughlin allowed one run in two innings.
On Sunday at 1:05, lefty Tyler Gilbert (3-6) will start for Lakewood. He will be opposed by left-hander Jonathan Frebis (4-5).