An early lead was all the Winnipeg Goldeyes' pitching staff needed for Winnipeg's first win of the 2014 season.
On the back of an early 3-0 lead and a shutdown pitching effort, the Goldeyes (1-1) beat the Amarillo Sox (1-1) 5-2 Friday night before 2,120 fans at a gusty Amarillo National Bank Sox Stadium in Texas.
With two out in the top of the first inning, Goldeyes left fielder Ray Sadler hit a solo home run to left field. It was Winnipeg's first home run of the season and put the road team up 1-0.
Winnipeg added to its lead in the third inning. Designated hitter Ryan Pineda led off the inning with a triple and was quickly singled home a batter later by catcher Luis Alen. After shortstop Tyler Kuhn hit into a double play, second baseman Jake Blackwood hit a solo home run to extend Winnipeg's lead to 3-0.
Goldeyes starting pitcher Jason Jarvis was stellar in his first start of the season, throwing just 58 pitches in six innings of work.
"You have to go out there and get strike one," Goldeyes pitching coach Jamie Vermilyea said on the Jewel 101 post-game show. "Jarvis did a heck of a job doing that tonight."
Jarvis' only blemish came in the bottom of the sixth inning when he surrendered three consecutive one-out singles and a sac fly, which led to two Amarillo runs.
Down to a one-run lead, the Goldeyes restored the three-run lead in the top of the eighth inning. Kuhn singled and Blackwood walked to start the inning. Then a deep fly ball from Sadler moved them to second and third base. After centre fielder Reggie Abercrombie was intentionally walked, Kuhn scored on a wild pitch and third baseman Josh Mazzola scored Blackwood on a sac fly.
"There was a three-inning stretch there where we didn't put together too many good ABs, but we beared down in the eighth inning and mustered those two runs, which were big for us," Vermilyea said.
From there, Goldeyes relievers Chris Kissock, Brendan Lafferty and Kyle Bellamy – in windy conditions in the bottom of the ninth inning – wiped out any hopes Amarillo had of staging a comeback.
Jarvis posted his fourth quality start in five starts as a member of the Goldeyes dating back to last season and earned the win, while Bellamy picked up his first save in a Goldeyes uniform.
Amarillo starter Derek Blacksher also turned in a quality start, but he suffered his first loss of the season.Kuhn, Blackwood and Sadler led Winnipeg with a pair of hits each, as the Goldeyes outhit Amarillo 9-7.
Defensively, Winnipeg didn't commit an error after making four on the rugged playing surface at ANB Sox Stadium last night.
The Goldeyes and Sox meet again Saturday night at 7 p.m. The Goldeyes are expected to start righty Matt Jackson, who will be activated from the inactive list. He'll face southpaw Dayne Quist.