[Via email from Grant McAuley, Stone Crabs Broadcaster.]
PALM BEACH, Fla. – It was the end of a frustrating road trip, but Chris Andujar and the Charlotte Stone Crabs saved the best for last.
Andujar (3-1) allowed just one hit over 8 1/3 innings and was backed by a pair of two-run homers as the Stone Crabs blanked the Palm Beach Cardinals by a 4-0 final score on Saturday at Roger Dean Stadium.
The Charlotte starter was occasionally wild but managed to get an aggressive Palm Beach line-up to play right into his hands. Though he issued a lead-off walk to Jermaine Curtis to start the bottom of the first, that would not be an accurate representation of how the night would go.
The righty carried a no-hitter into the bottom of the sixth inning, when Tony Cruz slapped an opposite field broken bat single into right to break up the no-hit bid. That would not stop Andujar from continuing his mastery, however.
Charlotte gave Andujar a two-run cushion to work with the in the bottom of the third inning when Tim Beckham connected for a two-run homer, his third of the season, to put the Stone Crabs up 2-0.
Scoring plays were few and far between, and the game would stay that way until the ninth inning. Matt Sweeney belted a two-run homer against Palm Beach reliever Joel Pichardo to give Andujar some breathing room in the ninth and make it a 4-0 game.
Though the Charlotter starter would come out to start the ninth and retire the first batter he faced, an error by third baseman Henry Wrigley put a runner at first with the heart of the order due for the Cardinals.
Stone Crabs manager Jim Morrison did not want to see the game get away from Andujar or the team, and made the call to go with righty reliever Zach Quate to record the final two outs and preserve the 4-0 win.
Andujar's final line saw him allow just the one hit while hitting three batters, walking two and striking out a pair over 8 1/3 innings. It is the deepest a Stone Crabs starter has gone in a game this season.
Cardinals starter Arquimedes Nieto (2-2) pitched well but was handed a tough-luck loss. He allowed just two runs on three hits over seven innings.
Charlotte will return home to begin a 10-game homestand, starting with four-games against the Tampa Yankees on Sunday. Matt Moore will take the mound looking for his first win of the season and be opposed by Adam Warren of Tampa. First pitch is scheduled for 5:35 p.m.