Power third baseman Eric Wood throws to first for an out after scooping up a bunt by Delmarva's Anthony Caronia.
CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- The West Virginia Power jumped to the top of the South Atlantic League's Northern Division behind baseball's basic tenets.The Power's pitching and defense have been superb during the season's second half, and that was on display again Tuesday night in a 3-2 victory over the Delmarva Shorebirds. A paid crowd of about 1,500 attended the matchup at Appalachian Power Park.The Power (23-14), which has won nine of 11, extended its division lead over the Hagerstown Suns to 11/2 games. The Suns, who won the division in the first half, lost 4-2 Tuesday to the Lakewood (N.J.) BlueClaws."Our pitching is the reason why we're playing so well,'' said Power manager Michael Ryan, a former Minnesota Twins player. "[The pitchers are] trusting our defense. It makes them trust to hit a certain location. It's really rolling now."Eric Wood and Max Moroff played outstanding, took the pressure off of Clay [Holmes, the Power's starting pitcher] and we were able to get him into the sixth. Max made some great plays and Woody with the barehanded play. 'Holmes, a 6-foot-5, 233-pound ninth-round draft pick of the Pittsburgh Pirates, turned in a workmanlike effort. The 20-year-old from Dothan, Ala., surrendered just two hits in six shutout innings with five strikeouts and four walks."Holmes has been outstanding lately and he feeds off what Glasnow does,'' said Ryan in referring to starter Tyler Glasnow's one-hit performance in five innings Monday in a 9-3 triumph over Delmarva."Glasnow set the tone for the series and Clay carried it. It's starting to become a competition and they enjoy it.''
Power reliever Thomas Harlan allowed two earned runs in the top of the seventh, but Jhondaniel Medina retired the final four batters for his sixth save.Moroff lofted a sacrifice fly in the second to give West Virginia the lead for good at 1-0 and Bell and Jordan Steranka each doubled in a run in the sixth for a 3-0 advantage. Gregory Lorenzo's two-out, two-run single in the seventh pulled the Shorebirds within one run (3-2). Harlan minimized the damage by picking off Lorenzo at first to end the inning.Medina came on in the eighth with a runner on first and two outs and induced Delmarva's Wynston Sawyer to ground out. Medina retired the Shorebirds in order in the ninth, fanning the first two batters.Dilson Herrera and Josh Bell pounded out two hits apiece for the Power while Francisco Diaz doubled.Kris Richards was the only Delmarva player with multiple hits, going 2 for 3 with a double.POWER POINTS: The Power (60-47) notched its 60th win of the season, making the 2013 squad the second fastest in franchise history to reach that mark. ... After beginning July dropping its first six games and plating just seven runs, the Power owns a 14-5 record since and has outscored its opponents 75-51. ... West Virginia concludes the three-game series with Delmarva (12-26) at 7:05 tonight. John Kuchno will pitch for the Power while Parker Bridwell will take the mound for the Shorebirds.Reach Tommy R. Atkinson at email@example.com or 304-348-4811.