02 Jun

connect four (plus one)

Spencer Turnbull had been a little erratic since moving to the Philadelphia bullpen in early May, but he was a smooth operator on Saturday in a clutch relief situation. The big right-hander out of Madison Central High threw three hitless innings for the mighty Phillies in a 6-1 win over St. Louis, notching his first win since April 19, when he was in the rotation. After starter Ranger Suarez departed Saturday’s game (line drive off his pitching hand in the second inning), the Phillies turned the game over to the bullpen. Turnbull worked innings 4-6. His ERA was 1.67 in his six starts to begin the season. He moved to the pen to accommodate the return of Taijuan Walker, and his ERA was 7.00 over his first six relief appearances, a new role for the six-year veteran. Saturday’s effort was nearly perfect. “Turnbull really picked us up tonight,” manager Rob Thomson told mlb.com. “If he does have to make Ranger’s (next) start, I am comfortable with him at 80 pitches, five (innings) — something like that.” … Three other Mississippi high school products pitched in MLB games on Saturday: George County alum Justin Steele, in his sixth start since coming off the injured list, wasn’t sharp on a rainy day in Chicago. He yielded seven hits and four walks in five innings against Cincinnati, but four of the five runs he was charged with were unearned. The Cubs rallied late to win 7-5. Steele, a 2023 All-Star, remains winless with a 4.10 ERA. … Ocean Springs product Garrett Crochet turned in another sizzling effort for the White Sox: one run over six innings with eight strikeouts. But the lowly ChiSox blew a lead and lost to Milwaukee 4-3. Crochet, in his first season as a starter, is 5-5 with a 3.49 for a 15-44 team. … Former Tupelo High star Chris Stratton threw a scoreless inning for Kansas City in a 7-3 loss to San Diego. Stratton has a 5.76 ERA, two wins, three saves and three holds in 23 relief appearances for the Royals. P.S. In the NCAA Tournament, a fifth state prep product, Niko Mazza out of MRA, delivered one of the best pitching performances of the postseason: a two-hit shutout in a 6-0 elimination game win for Southern Miss against Northern Kentucky in the Knoxville Regional. Mazza registered his ninth win of the year.