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2 bad innings haunt Stingers’ starter

SHARE 2 bad innings haunt Stingers’ starter

In figuring what went wrong in his Triple-A debut, Salt Lake starter John Lackey only needs to look at the first and seventh innings.

In those innings, Lackey, who was called up from Double-A Arkansas Sunday, allowed two runs each frame in the 6-4 loss to the second-place Iowa Cubs Thursday night.

Three of the first four runners reached base and two scored on an RBI ground out and by Ross Gload and an RBI double by Julio Zuleta in the I-Cubs' two-run first. And, just before being pulled in the seventh he allowed the first two runners and both of them later scored on a two-run single by Trienidad Hubbard.

"I didn't throw the ball well in those innings, and they came back to haunt me," Lackey said. "I didn't throw the ball well enough to win tonight."

Lackey, who was 9-7 with a 3.46 ERA and three complete games at Arkansas, walked or allowed the first hitter to reach base in five of the seven innings, and five times his defense was able to bail him out.

Catcher Jose Molina threw out a base runner to end the second and threw out the first two base runners trying to swipe second in the third inning.

The two times Lackey didn't allow the first hitter to get aboard he retired the side in order.

"Lackey was a little nervous in the first inning," Salt Lake manager Garry Templeton said.

His final debut-line: Four runs on five hits, five walks (Three of which came at the start of innings) and one strikeout.

With the victory, the Cubs (50-42) pull within five games of the Stingers (55-37) with three games left in this series in Salt Lake.

The Cubs added a pair of runs in the eighth inning off reliever Brendan Donnelly.

Salk Lake City got a single run in the fourth, a solo homer from Jose Fernandez in the seventh, and a two-run homer with two outs in the ninth by Juan Tolentino.

Iowa starter Carlos Zambrano (7-2) surrendered just four hits and two runs in seven innings, while striking out four and walking just two.

In his Triple-A debut, shortstop Alfredo Amezaga went 2-for-4 with a double and a run scored.

The two teams square off in Game 2 tonight at 7 at Franklin Covey with Salt Lake RHP Matt Wise (7-4, 4.67) taking on Iowa RHP Mike Meyers (5-3, 3.28).

GAME NOTES: The Stingers, who have made 103 roster moves, got word earlier this week that Anaheim recalled 2B Jose Nieves and optioned Larry Barnes back to Salt Lake City. The Angels also released RHP Jim Bruske, called up IF Alfredo Amezaga to Salt Lake City from AA Arkansas and traded OF Nate Murphy to the Arizona Diamondbacks . . . Jose Fernandez, Salt Lake's lone star in the Triple-A All-Star Game went 0-for-1 in a pinch-hit role in the PCL's 9-5 victory over the International League stars Wednesday night.

E-MAIL: jhinton@desnews.com