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Lake Elsinore, Calif – The Storm cruised to a 9-3 victory over the Angels’ Inland Empire affiliate Wednesday night on the back of Thomas Dorminy’s strong start and a few big offensive innings early.
For Dorminy, 23, his six inning, one-run outing was the second strong outing in his last three as the lefty kept the Sixers off balance all night. While he didn’t have the same big strikeout totals from his last few appearances, he also gave up a season-low four hits and induced grounders often.
“The key for him – and for any pitcher – is fastball command,” said his manager, Francisco Morales. “He was able to throw strike one and then mix in his offspeed pitches well. Then it was good we got him a four run lead in the first couple innings, because it gave him some confidence.”
By my unofficial count, Dorminy got strike one on 15 of 22 hitters and he worked ahead in the count much of the night. While his fastball only sits in the upper-80s, he worked effectively to both sides of the plate and allowed a fly ball only twice in nine plate appearances with a runner on base. He was most effective in his sixth and final frame when he allowed a leadoff single, then proceeded to record three straight fielder's choice grounders, including one stellar diving play by second baseman Josh VanMeter behind the bag.
With Dorminy, who really limped through his first four starts of the year, cruising, the offense was rolling early.
Javier Guerra led off the game with a nice two-strike approach to line a single to left, advanced on one of Luis Urias's three singles in the game, then came around on a Franmil Reyes single.
In the second inning, Guerra came up again after Inland Empire starter Justin Anderson had hit Trae Santos and walked Josh VanMeter. After again falling behind with two strikes, Guerra turned on a slider that didn't move very much and launched a mammoth homer over the high fence in right field. It was the 20-year-old's fourth round-tripper of the year and, after Guerra's second three-hit night of the week, his OPS is now up to .724 in his first season with the Padres organization.
The Storm turned their comfortable lead into a laugher of a game in the fourth inning when they sent eight men to the plate and scored five more. In that surge, Franchy Cordero sliced a triple into the left-center gap and Franmil Reyes lashed a double down the left field line.
With the game out of reach in the seventh, Martires Arias made his second relief appearance since being removed from the rotation. The massive righty started out cruising, logging an easy grounder to shortstop and freezing Sixers first baseman Jeff Boehm with a nasty slider. But with two out, he lost his mechanics a bit, and gave up three consecutive hits, including a monster triple hit directly over Cordero's head in center, to be charged with a pair of runs.
Arias worked from 92 to 98 with his fastball, and was throwing his sliders in the upper 80s. One has to think that, as a hitter, adjusting form Dorminy, who is generously listed as six feet tall, to the big righty who's every bit of his 6'10" roster height has to be a challenge.
Lefties Brad Wieck and Kyle McGrath each followed with a scoreless inning. McGrath has now worked 17.1 innings without giving up a run to open the year and owns a stellar 26-to-1 strikeout-to-walk ratio.
NOTES: Elliot Ashbeck, who joined the Storm on Saturday, has gone on the disabled list with forearm tightness. At this point, the organization isn't overly concerned, and the righty is staying with the Storm rather than heading back to Peoria. Newly-promoted Brett Kennedy will step into his spot in the rotation. ... Padres player development director Sam Geaney and roving instructor Ryley Westman were in town with the Storm. Both have already logged more than 20 days on the road this season. ... Trae Santos had an incredibly odd line for the night. He was hit by pitches in his first and fourth plate appearances, and struck out looking in the other two trips.