By DAVE UTNIK
WOODBRIDGE ” He asked to stay in the game and walked off the field without any assistance after closing out the top of the third inning.
But with each passing minute it became increasingly clear that something was wrong with Winston-Salem pitcher Wyatt Allen. After complaining of a “fast heartbeat” following a throw over to first base, Allen, 23, was pulled from Tuesday night’s game against the Potomac Cannons and taken to a nearby urgent care facility for tests.
“We took him out of the game because his heart was racing and we didn’t want to take any chances,” Winston-Salem manager Razor Shines said. “He wanted to stay in the game, but not a chance. Not with me. He’ll pitch again in five days.”
It took four relievers, 10 innings and clutch hits from Daylan Holt, Chris Stewart and Ruddy Yan for the Warthogs to pull out a 5-3 victory. But the biggest issue of the night was Allen’s welfare.
“He was gasping a bit for his breath and that scared me,” Shines said. “Once he calmed down, everything was fine. He’s here. He’s dressed. They took some blood work and that’s it. We just want to be careful.”
The Warthogs’ game-winning rally came after Allen returned to the dugout. They scored twice in the 10th against Cannons reliever Kyle Stanton and held onto first place in the Carolina League’s Southern Division.
“All these kids are part of a family,” Shines said. “Every single kid was concerned. We’re so glad nothing serious happened.
“He showed up in the dugout in the top of the 10th when we scored those runs,” Shines continued. “You could say they were inspired by his return.”
Holt, who entered the game as a defensive replacement in the bottom of the ninth, singled and scored the decisive run on a Stewart triple in the 10th. Yan added an RBI single to drive in Stewart.
“[Holt’s] been the best player in the league since he came down from Double-A,” Shines said. “I don’t know how long we’ll have him.”
Allen is attempting to work his way to Triple-A. He made one start there last season and received a non-roster invitation to spring training before returning to the Carolina League.
A first-round draft pick out of Tennessee in 2001, Allen began the season as Chicago’s No. 24-rated prospect. He retired the first seven batters he faced and was in the midst of his best start of the season when he suddenly bent over and placed his hands on his knees.
After pitching coach J.R. Perdew and trainer Josh Fallin rushed to the mound, Allen stayed in the game to face William Bergolla. He retired the Cannons’ leadoff batter on a fly ball for the final out of the third inning, but Shines didn’t want to take any chances.
“It’s all about the kid,” Shines said.
After winning the series opener 10-0 on Monday, the Warthogs jumped out to a 2-0 lead against Cannons starter Travis Thompson. That lead evaporated after Allen left the game, but the Warthogs came back to win their 13th game of the year.
Thompson defeated the Warthogs last week, working into the sixth inning in a 3-1 Cannons win, but last night Winston-Salem got the leadoff batter on in each of the first three innings.
Yan singled to lead off the game, took second on a sacrifice bunt and then swiped his league-leading 15th base of the season to set up a run-scoring groundout by Jeremy Reed.
Casey Rogowski doubled in the second and eventually scored on a Mike Morse sacrifice fly.
The Cannons rallied to tie the game at 2 by sending eight batters to the plate in the fourth. Then, Bergolla singled and scored on a Jesse Gutierrez sacrifice fly in the fifth to put Potomac ahead for the first time, 3-2.
Thompson held onto that advantage until the seventh. After retiring 10 consecutive Warthogs, right-hander yielded a leadoff base hit to Brian Becker, who later scored the tying run on a two-out single by Mike Morse.
SCATTERED BLASTS: With pitchers Chris Reed (strained hamstring) and Steve Kelly (strained back) on the disabled list, the Cannons added two players ” third baseman Heath Honeycutt and pitcher Bryan Anderson ” to the active roster on Tuesday.
They also parted ways with three others. First baseman Travis Wong was sent to low Class A Dayton while infielder Wandel Campana and outfielder Candy Martinez were released.
Honeycutt returned to the starting lineup on Tuesday after sitting out two weeks with a right shoulder strain. He served as the designated hitter and went 0 for 5.
Anderson became the second pitcher in two days to be assigned to the Cannons from Double-A Chattanooga. Lefty Brian Shackelford, who came over from the Royals as part of the Jeff Austin trade, was added to the staff on Monday.
Right-hander Kyle Edens, who led the West Coast Conference in saves at Baylor last year, will make his first professional start tonight in Kelly’s place. He will go up against 2001 first-round pick Kris Honel.