Daniel Silva came to Rochester with a limited number of innings in his strong right arm, and on Wednesday he took the mound knowing that he was making his last appearance for the Honkers this season.
It was a spectacular farewell.
Silva tossed seven scoreless innings against Mankato, giving up just three hits and striking out four as the Honker claimed a nail-biting 1-0 win.
“It’s bittersweet, because of having to say good-bye to the guys and the coaching staff,” Silva said. “I’m just so thankful for the opportunity to play here, and it’s been a blast.”
Silva said he’d already thrown 90 innings in college ball before arriving in Rochester, and his coaches wanted him to throw no more than 30 innings here. In Silva’s four starts for the Honkers, he tossed 25 innings and gave up just two earned runs.
But Silva wasn’t the only pitcher who dominated on Wednesday. Mankato starter Trent Baker had a no-hitter through five innings and had nine strikeouts in seven innings.
But in the bottom of the sixth, with the score 0-0, Rochester’s Logan Denholm led off with a walk. Tim Borden followed with a bouncer to third, and the third baseman looked to second before throwing wildly to first. Borden was credited with a base hit, ending the no-hit bid, and an error was also charged as Denholm reached third.
Baker retired the next two batters, but with two outs Ryan Ober hit a soft line drive that barely cleared the first baseman’s glove and landed inches inside the foul line. Denholm scored the game’s only run, and it was unearned.
Silva said Baker’s performance put some added pressure on his own performance. “I was telling myself, ‘I have to outpitch this guy,’ even though he was probably outpitching me,” he said. “I just kept telling myself that the boys would get me a run or two. I just needed to keep putting up zeroes and hoping for the best.”
After seven innings, Silva handed the ball to closer Keon Taylor. The side-arming right-hander tossed two hitless innings, picking up two strikeouts along the way — but that doesn’t mean there wasn’t some drama.
In the top of the ninth, Taylor walked leadoff batter Dayton Dooney. He advanced to second when Taylor made an errant pick-off throw, and with one out, Dooney reached third on a wild pitch.
Mankato’s Michael Perez then hit a ground ball up the middle. Dooney hesitated at third as Taylor deflected the ball to shortstop Andy Armstrong, who looked Dooney back, then got the out at first.
Taylor then got a groundout to end the game with the tying run stranded at third. It was Taylor’s third save of the season.
Honkers manager Thomas Walker is sorry to see Silva go. “That was an outstanding performance by Daniel Silva, which is exactly what we’ve come to expect from him,” Walker said. “He stayed competitive, matching their guy pitch-for-pitch.”
Walker said Baker did a good job of keeping Honkers batters off-balance. “He really commanded the zone with his fastball on both sides of the plate,” Walker said. “He mixed his slider in and was just very confident. He went after us today and took it to us for the most part. We had some good fortune, were able to grind out a couple at-bats and scratch out a run.”
The Honkers (14-9) are at Willmar on Thursday. They trail the Stingers by one game in the Great Plains West division.
Tosti gives Honkers win
The Rochester Honkers’ pitching staff has done a great job of keeping the Honkers in games this season, but the offense hasn’t always done its part.
It sure did on Tuesday.
Facing Mankato for the first time this summer, the Honkers pounded out 17 hits with three homers and hammered the MoonDogs 9-1.
Vinny Tosti, who just completed his freshman season at Oregon, made his debut for Rochester a great one with three hits from the No. 9 spot in the order. Leadoff batter Evan Berkey also had three singles and is batting .333. Tristan Peterson was 3-for-3 with a homer (his third) and 2 RBIs and is also hitting .333. Craig Shepherd homered, singled and scored three runs and is now hitting .339.
And Zack Zalesky, playing in just his second game for the Honkers, was 2-for-2 with a double, a homer, two RBIs and two runs scored.
The offensive explosion was more than enough for starting pitcher Ryan Dorney. He scattered three hits over five scoreless innings, then handed the ball to the bullpen. After a rough game on Monday, the relievers did their jobs on Tuesday. Marc Bisogno, Mitchell Allen and Marty Tolson Jr. gave up seven hits over four innings, but they made the big pitches when they needed them and yielded just one run.
Dorney got the win and is 2-2.
Honkers 1, MoonDogs 0
Mankato 000 000 000 — 0 3 1
Rochester 000 001 00x — 1 3 1
Mankato: Dooney 1-for-3; Mazzone 1-for-3; Novak 1-for-3. Pitchers: Baker (LP) 7 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 3 BB, 9 K; Juenger 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 1 K.
Rochester: Ober 1-for-4, RBI; Armstrong 1-for-3; Denholm 1 R; Borden 1-for-3. Pitchers: Silva (WP) 7 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 4 K; Taylor (S) 2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 2 K.