LAKE ELSINORE, CA -- With three big league players in town rehabbing injuries, it seemed that they would headline a Tuesday night game in Lake Elsinore. Instead, RHP Cal Quantrill stole the show.
The right-hander pitched six terrific innings, striking out a career-high 12 batters as the Storm held on to defeat the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes 4-3, at the Lake Elsinore Diamond.
Quantrill opened the game by allowing a double to Quakes shortstop Drew Jackson on a sharply hit ball down the left field line. Quantrill was able to strike out former Padre second baseman Logan Forsythe, who is rehabbing with the Quakes. The next batter, Joc Pederson, who like Forsythe is rehabbing with Rancho Cucamonga, drew a walk. Quantrill then struck out Quakes right fielder D.J. Peters and got Yusniel Diaz to line-out to short.
On the offensive side of things, the Storm faced Dodgers top prospect Yadier Alvarez, whom the Dodgers signed out of Cuba for $16 million, flashed his talented right arm as well.
After lead-off hitter Yuniet Flores reached on an error, he stole second to put himself into scoring position. However, the Storm could not score as first baseman Ty France popped out to end the inning.
The Storm got on the board in the second when designated hitter Carlos Belen executed a hit-and-run perfectly, smacking a double through the infield and into the right-center gap that scored Ruddy Giron from first. Alvarez proceeded to retire the next seven Storm batters than came to the plate.
Quantrill continued his dominance through next few innings, striking out the side in the second and he added two more punch-outs in the third.
Rancho Cucamonga got on the board in the fourth inning on a RBI groundout, after D.J. Peters opened the frame with a booming triple to the 425’ sign in left center.
Quantrill ran into trouble in the fifth after allowing another run to score on a double, but he was able to escape further damage when shortstop Javier Guerra made a spectacular diving catch on a line drive while flipping the ball to second baseman Peter Van Gansen to complete the double play.
Quantrill added a pair of strikeouts in the 6th, as his change-up and sliders confounded the Rancho lineup all night.
“He [Quantrill) was mixing up his pitches well all night - he was throwing his secondary pitches for strikes. His velocity was good - everything was working for him and he did a good job,” said Storm manager Edwin Rodriguez.
While Quantrill lived up to the accolades bestowed upon him, he was much more critical of his performance Tuesday night,
“It was kind of a mixed game. I probably gave up more hits than I would have liked. I managed it when I gave up the hits. I put myself in a situation where I could use my off-speed stuff to put guys away. I was getting ahead with my fastball and locating it.
I was a little disappointed with how many lead-off hits I let up; it just makes for a stressful game. But like I said, we managed it and forced batters to put the ball in play, “ said Quantrill shortly after his performance Tuesday night.
With the score tied in the bottom of the eighth, first baseman Ty France delivered the go-ahead hit when he lined a triple to left that scored Michael Gettys and Austin Allen.
After rehabbing starter Jarred Cosart allowed two runners to reach in the ninth, RHP Trevor Frank slammed the door for his first save of the year, preserving the win for Lake Elsinore.