November 27, 2014

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Crushers starter Todd Kibby dominant in win over CornBelters

The Crushers’ Trevor Stevens takes a chunk out of his bat as he takes a swing Tuesday at All Pro Freight Stadium. KRISTIN BAUER/CHRONICLE

The Crushers’ Trevor Stevens takes a chunk out of his bat as he takes a swing Tuesday at All Pro Freight Stadium. KRISTIN BAUER/CHRONICLE

AVON — With the way Todd Kibby was throwing Tuesday night, all the Crushers needed was a run or two.

But maybe it was fitting on Ten-Cent Hot Dog Night that the Crushers were thinking about value and gave Kibby more than he needed.

The Crushers scored four runs in the first and added three in the second in rolling to a 7-1 win over the Normal CornBelters in front of 1,526 fans at All Pro Freight Stadium.

Kibby threw seven shutout innings, while scattering four hits, walking none and striking out four.

After struggling to get anything going offensively during their three previous games against Evansville, the Crushers (13-9, 10-3 at The Freight) wasted no time building on the momentum from Sunday’s walk-off win.

“Joe really had a pretty good scouting report on (Normal starter Corey MacDonald),” Crushers manger Chris Mongiardo said of hitting coach and former Indians rookie of the year Joe Charboneau. “He really did a nice job of looking over his stats and really gave those guys a good report, and they came out right after him.

“Kibby did a great job on top of that. … Kibby was a big signing in the offseason. He won 16 games in the White Sox organization over the last two years, so we were lucky to get him.”

The Crushers sent nine men to the plate in the first inning against MacDonald (1-1, 4.44 ERA). Craig Hertler got the party started with a one-out single, scoring from first on Seth Granger’s single.

After a walk to Anderson Hidalgo, Adam Ford drove MacDonald’s first pitch off the wall in left-center for a two-run double, making it 3-0. Emmanuel Quiles and Vincent Mejia followed with first-pitch singles, with Quiles’ driving in Ford to make it 4-0.

“I told the guys what type of pitcher he was, what he threw and gave them his stats, and we just got to him early,” Charboneau said. “He missed a couple of spots and we jumped on the balls and we didn’t let up. Anytime he missed, we seemed to be hitting the ball. He didn’t pitch bad, but when he’d miss his spot, we’d hit the ball.

“It was great to see us go after a pitcher early. We wanted to be aggressive early on good fastballs to hit. Like I said, (MacDonald’s) got good stuff. He just missed a little bit, and when he did, we jumped on it. It was nice to see us that aggressive.”

Ford had another RBI double in the second, highlighting a three-run inning that chased MacDonald. Quiles and Hidalgo each added RBI singles to make it 7-0.

Kibby (3-1, 1.82), meanwhile, was light’s out.

He retired the first eight batters and, despite giving up two hits, faced the minimum amount of hitters through five innings. Kibby’s defense did most of the work, turning a double play in the fourth and gunning down Tyler Shover at second as he tried to stretch a single in the third.

“For the most part, I was just trying to spot my fastball,” Kibby said. “When you’re a starting pitcher, you’ve got to go in, out, up, down. If you can’t do that, you’re going to be in for a long day. That’s my weakness — sometimes it’s harder to spot my sinker. But I was able to locate it well. That’s why I was successful.”

Of course, Kibby certainly didn’t mind being spotted seven runs after two innings.

“Any pitcher will tell you that pitching with a four-run lead is a lot easier,” he said. “You can go right after guys. It makes it easier to go with a first-pitch fastball. If they hit a solo home run, so what? Solo home runs don’t beat you. You’ve got to go right after guys.”

The game ended with some fireworks. After Normal’s Mike Schwartz scored on a two-out ground-rule double in the ninth inning, he said something to home plate umpire Pete Peterson as he crossed the plate. Peterson promptly ejected Schwartz, who had to be restrained from going after Peterson. It took about five minutes before order was restored.

Notable

  • Crushers left-handed pitcher Matt Rein, who will start tonight’s game, is officially a player-coach. Mongiardo has named Rein his pitching coach for the rest of the season.
  • Andrew Davis was not activated off the disabled list prior to Tuesday’s game, but Mongiardo said he’s “80 percent certain” Davis will be activated and in the lineup tonight.

Contact Dan Gilles at 329-7135 or dangilles73@gmail.com.

Tonight

WHO: Lake Erie Crushers vs. Normal CornBelter
TIME: 7:05
WHERE: All Pro Freight Stadium, Avon
PITCHERS:  Rein (0-0, 4.50 ERA) vs. Mitchell (0-0, 0.00)

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