LAKE ELSINORE, Calif. — The Storm played a doubleheader Tuesday to kick off a series against the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes. The Storm sent out RHP Luis Patiño for game one of the twin-bill, who produced one of his best outings of the year to lead the Storm to a 3-1 victory.
Patiño got off to a fast start in the first, striking out the side in order. He threw his fastball at 92-96 mph in the first and snapped off a few sliders that generated some poor swings.
“He came out darting his fastball,” said Storm manager Tony Tarasco. “He had great command of [his fastball], he threw a great changeup and he mixed in a good slider behind the changeup. I thought he was locked in from the get-go.”
In the bottom half of the first, the Storm were able to plate a run. Designated hitter Robbie Podorsky led off the frame with a single into center field. Podorsky then stole second base and scored on a Luis Campusano single — a ball that was scorched through the right side of the infield.
In the bottom of the third, Esteury Ruiz got on to start the frame with a single and promptly stole second — his 16th swipe of the year. After a couple of fly outs, it was Campusano who again delivered the big blow. The catcher lined a fastball down the third base line to plate Ruiz. The next batter — Allen Cordoba — singled in Campusano with a ball that snuck through the infield.
That was plenty of offense for Patiño who kept the Quakes off-balance all afternoon. The righty ran into some trouble in the second, as he allowed a couple of singles and walked a batter. He got out of the inning by getting Quakes right fielder Brayan Morales to fly out to right field harmlessly.
Patiño breezed through the fourth, retiring the Quakes in order with a pair of strikeouts. He got the first two batters in the fifth before allowing a two-out triple that Ruiz nearly snagged at second base, but it glanced off of his glove and rolled passed right fielder Tirso Ornelas. Patiño got out of the jam by inducing a routine fly ball to center to avoid any damage.
In the sixth, Patiño again ran into trouble. After striking out Quakes left fielder Donovan Casey with a 97 mph fastball, Patiño allowed a booming double to center field that Jeisson Rosario couldn’t come up with. After a walk, Patiño was lifted after throwing 5.2 scoreless innings — his first scoreless outing of 2019. The 19-year-old finished with seven strikeouts and lowered his ERA to 3.05.
Evan Miller relieved Patiño and walked the first batter he faced. Miller was able to get out of the jam by striking out Connor Wong and inducing a weak groundout by Marcus Chiu.
In the seventh, Miller ran into more trouble after he allowed a triple to begin the inning. The Quakes pushed across a run on an RBI groundout but posed no threat after. It was Miller’s eighth save of the season, which leads the California League.
“The whole bullpen has done a good job of being ready,” said Tarasco. “They’ve come into the game and they have attacked hitters. That’s a credit to [Storm pitching coach] Pete Zamora and the way he inspires them.”
In game two, the Storm sent Ronald Bolaños to the bump and he was just as good as Patiño.
The Cuban righthander came out with a brisk pace and worked the strike zone with a fastball that sat 91-93 mph and a breaking ball that he was able to spot all over the zone.
However, the Storm bats were quiet as they managed just one hit in a 1-0 loss.
Bolaños had no-hitter through four innings but Quakes shortstop Jeter Downs drove a fastball out to left field for the game’s only run. The two teams combined for just three hits.
The 21-year-old Bolaños finished his day with the loss, although he certainly deserved a better fate. He completed five innings and allowed just the one hit while walking two and striking out five.
“I thought Bolaños did a fantabulous job,” laughed Tarasco. “I wish we could have got him more runs today, especially for the way he pitched. It was a well-pitched ballgame from both guys. He just made a mistake and it cost him the ballgame. But I really enjoyed watching him pitch today.”
After struggling through his tour last year, Bolaños might be one of the most improved pitchers in the Cal League in 2019. The outing lowered his season ERA to 3.14.
“His consistency [has been better in 2019].” He’s always been able to throttle the baseball but he’s been able to throttle it and throw it consistently for strikes more often.”
The Storm had an opportunity to do some damage in the sixth but came up empty. After Podorsky walked and stole second, Nate Easley and Campusano drew walks. With two outs and the bases loaded, Cordoba struck out on a fastball up in the zone to end the threat.
The Storm will go for the series win Wednesday when Dinelson Lamet makes a rehab outing at The Diamond.