HARTFORD, June 18 – When you have an opportunity to possibly grab a spot in the playoffs, you play on a wet field after it has been raining all afternoon.
The visiting Bowie Baysox scored two runs in the first inning and lefthander Bruce Zimmerman threw a complete game shutout to lead the Baysox to a 2-0 Eastern League victory over the Hartford Yard Goats Tuesday at soggy Dunkin’ Donuts Park.
Hartford (37-30) could have clinched a spot in September’s Eastern League playoffs with a win and losses by Trenton and Reading. But Trenton and Reading both won and Trenton captured the first half championship in the Eastern Division with a better winning percentage than the Phillies.
The Yard Goats can still qualify for the EL playoffs if they win the second half of the season, which begins on Wednesday.
It was Zimmerman’s longest outing of the season. He allowed just four hits and struck out nine to earn his second victory of the year. Nine strikeouts is second-most in a single game this season. He had 11 in a win over Richmond in May.
Zimmerman outdueled Hartford’s Jack Wynkoop (5-7), who pitched eight innings in his longest outing of the season
After Hartford’s Alan Trejo singled with one out in the fourth inning, Zimmerman retired the final 17 batters he faced. He didn’t allow a walk.
Bowie took a 2-0 lead in the first inning. After Mason McCoy opened the game with a single, Ademar Rifaela reached Wynkoop with a two-out, two-run homer above the ribbon board in right-center, for the game’s only runs.
Wynkoop, making his franchise-record 54th start, allowed two runs on eight hits and struck out two. The Yard Goats were shutout for his second straight start. In his last 40 innings, Wynkoop has walked only two batters.
McCoy had three hits and Rifaela a home run and single to lead Bowie’s nine-hit attack. The game did not feature a walk.
The series with the Baysox resumes on Wednesday night beginning at 7:05 p.m. at Dunkin’ Donuts Park.
Trenton (38-27, .585) won the first half Eastern Division title with a 6-0 win over Richmond. Reading (39-28, .582) is second after a 10-2 victory over Akron with the Yard Goats third (37-30). The Eastern League went to a split season format this summer.