AUBURN — Through two starts and three appearances, veteran left-hander Yonathan Ramirez was not himself.
He went a long way toward righting the ship in start No. 3.
Ramirez earned the win with five solid innings as the Auburn Doubledays topped the Batavia Muckdogs 4-2 Saturday at Falcon Park.
With this latest win, the Doubledays wrapped up their second straight sweep and have now won six in a row.
Ramirez, now in his third season with the Doubledays, entered Saturday’s game with a 5.73 ERA over 11 innings. After two uneven innings with three walks to start the game, Ramirez settled down to last five innings. His final line included three hits against, one run and four strikeouts.
“He’s been coming from the bullpen for us the last couple outings. We were a man down in the rotation and he kind of stepped up,” Doubledays manager Jerad Head said. “That’s huge that he went five (innings) for us. It saved the bullpen.”
Ramirez’s effort was backed by a two-run home run from Gage Canning in the third. With Auburn trailing 1-0, Phil Caulfield worked a one-out walk and Canning followed by lifting a 1-1 pitch over the right field wall.
Canning finished 2-for-4. He now leads the Doubledays in home runs (2) and triples (3).
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“He’s done a very nice job, especially making that adjustment from college to pro ball,” Head said. “That takes some people longer than others, but he’s come in here and put together some good at-bats. He’s got some tools.”
In the seventh ahead 2-1, the Doubledays tacked on some crucial insurance runs. Nic Perkins and Kyle Marinconz started the frame with walks to set up RBI hits from Juan Pascal and Caulfield.
Batavia scratched across one run in the top of the eighth of Jhonathan German, but German sat down the Muckdogs in order in the ninth to pick up the save.
Perkins extended a personal hitting streak to three games with a 2-for-3 night. Jacob Rhinesmith and Ricardo Mendez also added hits.
Auburn (8-6) moves two games over .500 for the first time this season. While Head isn’t ready to acknowledge his team as team to beat in the New York-Penn League, he offers credit regarding the compete-level.
“We find a way every night to win,” Head said. “Sometimes it’s our bats, a lot of the times it’s our pitching and defense. We’ll continue to do what we’ve been doing.”
The Doubledays travel to Williamsport Sunday.