Eddie Bonine gave up one hit over the first eight innings, a broken bat single in the top of the first. He then proceeded to retire 13 straight until an error on Brett Dowdy in the sixth ended the streak. The right-hander then retired nine straight batters, including five by strikeout, until a single with one out in the ninth brought on closer Leo Rosales.
“You like to think it is just another game,” Bonine began. “But it is a big swing. We go up 1-0 and we lose it is 1-1 and they have momentum going to their place.”
“Outstanding,” Manager Rick Renteria said. “He has started to use that knuckleball effectively which makes his fastball that much more effective.”
The first batter to face Rosales, Kevin Frandsen, tripled off the top of the centerfield wall to bring in a run. He walked the next batter before fanning Brian Buscher for the second out of the inning. A pop up into foul territory ended the game.
Bonine’s night ended with a season high nine strikeouts in 8.1 innings, topping the eight he had in San Jose on August 3. Bonine did not walk a batter and was charged with one run. Of the 27 batters he faced, he led off with a strike to 18 of them.
“I was mixing it up between the slow knuckleball and hard knuckleball,” Bonine said.
“Unbelieavable,” catcher Colt Morton breathed of Bonine’s performance. “That was fun. Wherever he was trying to go, whatever we were trying to do, he was hitting it. It was disgusting. His ball was dancing all over the place. I was talking to the umpire. . .I am trying to make sure neither one of us get hit. His knuckleball was filthy.”
Morton opened up the second inning with a long home run over the scoreboard in left field, his third homer in five playoff games and eighth RBI. Morton has an RBI in each game of postseason play.
“Morton has been swinging the bat well since he got here,” Renteria noted. “He did a nice job behind the plate tonight too.”
Lake Elsinore loaded the bases in the seventh inning without the benefit of a hit. After Morton was plunked by a fastball, Jordan Pickens drew a one out walk and Fernando Valenzuela reached base on a fielder’s choice error, Drew Macias struck out on three pitches. John Waddell was lifted in favor of Joe Bateman. With two outs, Juan Ciriaco hit a ground rule double to score two unearned runs and a 3-0 lead and a few insurance runs.
Waddell allowed four hits over 6.2 frames, striking out five and walking two. He was charged with three runs, one earned.
The Storm tacked on another run in the eighth inning. Brett Dowdy led off with a single and stole second. He went to third when the shortstop could not secure the throw and scored when the centerfielder overplayed the ball.