SALISBURY, MD - When the RiverDogs are desperate for a win, there might not be a pitcher they want to hand the ball over to more than Janson Junk. The Seattle right-hander went seven innings while allowing just a run as the RiverDogs snapped a six-game losing streak with a series opening win, 2-1, over the Shorebirds on Thursday night at Perdue Stadium.
Two turns ago on the mound, the Yankees' 22nd rounder was scheduled to take the hill when the RiverDogs (51-56, 18-21) had been reeling with nine losses in their last 10 and delivered a much-needed starting performance, six strong with one run allowed in a 2-1 road victory in Rome. On Thursday in Maryland, he took it an inning further as Charleston hung on to edge out another one-run victory; Charleston leads the league now with 46 games decided by just a lone tally.
Junk's (W, 5-3) seven innings matched a career-high as he scattered five hits and struck out four. Despite allowing a seventh inning home run to third baseman Trevor Craport, Junk left the game with the RiverDogs in front, 2-1, another strong outing following a month when the righty ran a 3.38 ERA in his five previous starts. Since the beginning of July, the 22-year-old has lowered his overall ERA from 4.08 to 3.88.
With each of Charleston's top-two saves leaders, Kyle Zurak and Braden Bristo, called up to Tampa in the last week, reliever Daniel Alvarez was called upon over the final two innings. The Venezuelan righty struck out three of the seven batters he faced and allowed one single to pick up his first save as a RiverDog. He was aided by a rangy, spinning play by shortstop Oswaldo Cabrera to pick up the first out in the ninth.
Designated hitter Welfrin Mateo finished the night 2-for-3 with an RBI, plating Charleston's first run with a sacrifice fly drilled into the right-center gap that was run down by Delmarva (54-52, 19-20) centerfielder Kervin Moesquit.
The RiverDogs played more small ball in the seventh, using a hit-and-run to advance Carlos Vidal's one-out walk to third on a base hit by Mateo. The Dogs' centerfielder would eventually score on a wild pitch by Ryan Wilson to make it 2-0.
The win also snapped an overall four-game losing streak to the Orioles affiliate that had swept the RiverDogs in three games at The Joe from July 11-13. The victory averted Charleston matching their season-long skid of seven games during that same stretch.