Lewis, Duran Make Debut, Lead Blue Wahoos To Seventh Straight Win

July 29, 2019

A leap in level and first impression became memorable Sunday for shortstop Royce Lewis and pitcher Jhoan Duran, leading the Pensacola Blue Wahoos to a new high.

In their much-anticipated debuts, Lewis drove in a pair of runs with a second-inning double, narrowly missing a grand slam, going 2-for-5 and helping turn two double plays, while Duran allowed just two hits in five scoreless innings, as the visiting Blue Wahoos beat the Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp 5-0 to record their seventh consecutive win.

It’s the team’s longest win streak this season. It’s happening with a remodeled roster.

And the Blue Wahoos did it Sunday on the road against a major league pitcher.

Less than a day after being promoted from the Fort Myers Miracle, the 20-year-old Lewis was in the starting lineup and quickly wowed.

The Minnesota Twins’ overall No. 1 pick in 2017 drove a pitch from Pablo Lopez, who was on a rehab assignment start from the Miami Marlins, off the left field wall at the Baseball Grounds of Jacksonville.

The almost-grand slam scored Jimmy Kerrigan and Ivan De Jesus Jr. A wild pitch from Lopez then scored Joe Cronin with the third run of the inning and provided a 4-0 lead. It forced Jumbo Shrimp manager Kevin Randel to summon the bullpen for a reliever.

Lewis singled in his next at-bat to become the Blue Wahoos’ lone multiple-hit player in the game.

The Blue Wahoos got a first inning run off Lopez, a starter in 14 games this season for Miami, on Ben Rortvedt’s two-out double scoring Trevor Larnach, who had singled.

Larnach (2018), Lewis and Alex Kirilloff (2016) currently give the Blue Wahoos the Twins’ No. 1 draft picks in the past three years.

Meanwhile, Duran was dealing on the mound. The 21-year-old righthander faced just one batter above the minimum through four innings. He recorded eight ground ball outs, including a double play that Lewis helped turn.

Duran worked five complete innings, allowing just one walk and striking out three, in addition to yielding two hits.

Three relievers followed Duran. Hector Lujan worked a scoreless sixth inning. Jonathan Cheshire, also making his Blue Wahoos debut after being with the Toronto Blue Jays organization, followed with 1.2 innings, allowing just one hit.

Alex Phillips picked up his second save after entering in the eighth inning and allowed just one hit. The Blue Wahoos picked up their fifth run in the ninth inning on Kirilloff’s two-out single to score Ryan Costello.

The win boosted the Blue Wahoos to 56-50 overall, after they fell under .500 during a six-game losing streak which preceded the turnaround. They are 18-18 in the second half and trail first-place Biloxi by five games in the Southern League South Division.

However, if the Shuckers win the second half to follow their first half division win, the other playoff spot goes to the team with the second-best overall record.  The Blue Wahoos now have seven-game lead on Jacksonville in that category, five games over the Mississippi Braves.

The Blue Wahoos and Jumbo Shrimp will continued their five-game series on Monday with Bryan Sammons set to face Sixto Sanchez, the Marlins’ No. 1 overall prospect.

The Blue Wahoos return to Pensacola on Thursday to face the Birmingham Barons in a weekend series

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