WOODBRIDGE — From the stretch, Rob Purvis may look like a reliever but he manages to pitch like a starter.
The Winston-Salem right-hander hasn’t needed a windup in two starts. He shut out the Potomac Cannons for five innings on Sunday night and his teammates pulled away to a 7-1 victory in front of a Pfitzner Stadium crowd of 3,141. Eight days earlier, Purvis fired five scoreless innings to beat Myrtle Beach.
“He’s been in the pen most of the year and he’s still more comfortable coming out of the stretch,” Warthogs manager Razor Shines said of Purvis, a supplemental first-round pick in 1999 out of Bradley University. “He did this same thing last time. I’m real happy with the way my club’s playing right now. My kids play hard every single night, and we’vebeen getting a lot of good pitching.”
Purvis (4-0) has picked up wins in two-thirds of his Carolina League appearances this summer. The Warthogs(22-18) moved into a tie with Kinston for the second-half lead in the Northern Division, pending the Indians’ result in Salem on Sunday night. Potomac, which split this four-game series and went 2-5 on the homestand, fell to 18-23.
A night after winning a tight 3-2 game, the Cannons were within 2-1 until the ninth inning. Winston-Salem had only scored one run off reliever Josh Daws until a one-hit bloop to right-center field from left fielder Daylan Holt. Right fielder B.J. Hawes, center fielder Chris Denorfia and second baseman William Bergolla converged on the ball, but it dropped for a hit.
One run scored to give the Warthogs a 4-1 lead. After Daws struck out Eric Welsh, Eric Storey singled home two runs and Normand Martel another.
“Up until the ninth and the fly ball that falls in front of Hawes — he never called it and that’s hisball — we were right there,” Potomac manager Jayhawk Owens said. “I’m just glad that, in my opinion, we played eight innings of good baseball.”
Cannons starter Brandon Culp (3-6) struck out eight but walked four in his five-inning effort. He gave up a bases-loaded walk in the second inning and a two-out single to Ruddy Yan in the fourth.
In the bottom of the seventh, the Cannons scored a run on a two-out single by first baseman Chris Williamson. With runners still on first and third, reliever Rick Hummel struck out Hawes to end the inning.
Potomac pitching coach Larry Pierson was ejected in the second inning. Saturday night, both managers and reliever Jason Stumm were tossed, while Cannons first baseman/catcher Jesse Gutierrez was hit by pitch three times. Friday night and Sunday evening, Winston-Salem shortstop Mike Morse was hit by pitches. In the second inning of the series finale, he loaded the bases when he was hit by a 1-2 pitch from Culp. He simply put his head down and ran to first base.
“That’s baseball,” Shines said of the series as a whole. “Things happen once in a while, and the kids sometimes police themselves. I thought tonight they just went out and played a tight ballgame for eight innings. It took a little while, but we finally got the break we were looking for.”
SCATTERED BLASTS: Potomac starts a seven-game road trip tonight at Lynchburg, with new acquisition Jeff Bruksch scheduled to make his Cannons debut. Bruksch, a right-hander, came over in the Jose Guillen trade with the Oakland Athletics. … Reliever Todd Coffey pitched three scoreless innings for the Cannons on Sunday night. In two appearances over six innings, he has allowed one run.