Lakewood’s Jose Pujols blasted his South Atlantic League-leading 10th homer of the season Monday, June 7, 2016 for the BlueClaws. (Photo credit: Lakewood BlueClaws)
Jose Pujols homered and tripled and Wilson Garcia and Josh Tobias each stroked three hits, leading the host Lakewood BlueClaws past the Lexington (Ky.) Legends 9-5 on Monday night in front of 3,216 fans at FirstEnergy Park in South Atlantic League play.
The BlueClaws (21-35) won the first game of their three-game series with the Kansas City Royals’ low Class A farm team (22-34). Lakewood snapped a five-game losing streak, one short of its season-long streak. Lakewood is last in the Northern Division.
Signed by the Philadelphia Phillies as an amateur free agent on April 15, 2013, Pujols leads the league with 10 homers. He homered for the first time since May 23.
Trailing 2-0, the BlueClaws scored two runs in the second inning.
Pujols led off with a homer, breaking a tie with Greenville’s Josh Ockimey and Delmarva’s Alex Murphy for the league lead. An error on shortstop Marten Gasperini on a Carlos Duran ground ball plated two runs and put Lakewood up 3-2.
The Legends tied the game in the third with a run.
Lakewood swung ahead 5-3 in the third as Pujols tripled home one run and Garcia lofted a sacrifice fly to center field. The BlueClaws scored two runs in the fourth in which Tobias hit an RBI double. Teammate Emmanuel Marrero stroked an RBI double in the sixth.
Winner Tyler Gilbert (3-5) struck out a professional career-high nine through seven innings. The lefty allowed four runs, including two earned. It was the fourth time Gilbert, selected on the sixth round by the Phillies in 2015 out of the University of Southern California, finished seven innings for the fourth time this season.
Eight of nine Lakewood players had hits. Garcia and Tobias led the team with three each. Pujols and Jiandido Tromp each had two.
Nolan Watson (1-6) suffered the setback, allowing seven runs, six earned, in 3 2/3 innings.
The series continues tonight at 7:05 at FirstEnergy Park. Right-hander Luke Leftwich (4-3) will start for the BlueClaws. He will be opposed by lefty Emilio Ogando (4-4).
Lakewood, which is 4-6 over its last 10 games, owns a .375 winning percentage.