LITTLE FALLS, NJ – The Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks found themselves deadlocked in a pitcher’s duel on Monday night at Yogi Berra Stadium with New Jersey, and the Jackals escaped with a 2-0 win.
The war on the hill featured the wily veteran Brandon Mann versus the young hard throwing right-hander Gabriel Perez.
Fresh off three consecutive quality starts, Mann spun another gem in this start. The lefty added eight strikeouts to his American Association leading 72 and went the distance for the ‘Hawks, allowing just two runs on seven hits with a lone base on balls.
Mann faced the minimum three in the second, third and sixth frames, and allowed one base runner in the first and fourth.
Meanwhile, Perez rolled along at an even clip in comparison to his counterpart. Native to the Dominican Republic, he retired the side in the third, fourth and seventh frames, and allowed one runner to reach second base through seven innings of work.
The Jackals got on the board in the fifth. The speedy Jamal Austin beat out a throw from short for an infield single to start and would advance to second on a Justin Trapp ground ball. Austin would swipe third base during Tony Caldwell’s at-bat bringing up Peter Mooney. It was lefty vs. lefty, as Mooney was the only left-handed batter in the order on Monday, and the lefty with a stick in his hand came through. Mooney delivered a two-out single driving in Austin giving the Jackals a 1-0 lead in a game where runs were at a premium.
The Jackals got to Mann once more in the home half of the eighth inning. Mann left a pitch up in the zone and A.J. Kirby Jones took it from his wheelhouse to the left-center for his first homer of the season pushing New Jersey’s lead to 2-0.
Hector Nelo came on in relief for Perez in the eighth and shut down Fargo-Moorhead. The former Cincinnati Reds product has been Mariano Riveraesque on the mound for the Jackals this season, having a spotless ERA of 0.00 in 21.2 innings pitched (20 appearances). He continued his stellar relief pitching on Monday, facing five RedHawks and retiring them all in order. Nelo earned his second save of the season in 1.2 innings of work.
Mann (2-6, 4.15 ERA) goes the distance but drops the tough decision. In his last five starts, he has produced four quality starts, including two complete games, but is 1-3 in those outings.
Perez (6-1, 2.53 ERA) earns his fourth win in his last starts (other outing being a no-decision) by going 7.1 innings giving up no runs on two hits a season high eight strikeouts.
Shutout for the fourth time this season, Fargo-Moorhead drops to 19-37 while New Jersey reaches the 30 win plateau and is now 30-22 on the season. The Jackals trail Rockland by 1.5 games for the best record in the Canadian-American League. The two teams return tomorrow night for game three of the series with the RedHawks handing Tyler Herron (3-4, 3..56 ERA) the ball while New Jersey will counter with Julio Rodriguez (4-0, 1.48 ERA). All games can be heard on 740 AM The Fan with play-by-play by Jack Michaels. Pre-game show starts at 5:45 with a 6:05 p.m. start central time.