If the Lexington Legends want to get out of their season-long slump sometime soon, they're probably going to have to wait until the Lakewood BlueClaws leave town.
That, or they need to start hitting.
Lakewood, arguably the hottest team in the South Atlantic League, easily defeated Lexington 4-0 Thursday night at Applebee's Park to extend its season-best six-game winning streak.
The Legends (24-60) managed just three hits and reached third base once as they continued to struggle at the plate.
“I think that's an understatement,” Manager Gregg Langbehn said after watching his team score fewer than four runs for the 42nd time this season. “I've never known many teams that didn't score. They pitched good; we just never threatened.”
Lakewood's “good” pitching, specifically that of Walter Tejeda's, was also an understatement.
Tejeda, a righty from the Dominican Republic was nearly perfect for much of the night, mowing down the first eight Legends he faced until giving up a walk in the third inning. He didn't give up a hit until surrendering a double to Matt Cusick in the fourth.
Dennis Winn's two-run bomb on the fourth pitch of the ball game was all the run-support Tejeda (4-4) needed. In picking up his first win since coming off the disabled list on June 21, Tejeda tossed six scoreless innings on two hits and six strikeouts.
“I felt really good, really healthy. I feel a lot stronger now,” said Tejeda, who was still trying to shake off the rust from an elbow injury. “I had more confidence in my pitches as the night wore on.”
Tejeda (4-4) left the game after six innings of work. Tejeda said he he was still fresh after the sixth and wanted to keep pitching, but he was taken out, so as not to injure his elbow again.
“We just never put any pressure on him,” Langbehn said.
The loss puts the Legends at 60 on the season, the fastest any Lexington team has reached that mark in the franchise's seven-year history. They haven't shown much improvement, going 3-12 since the All-Star Game.
Luis Pardo, who was looking for his first win of the season in his third start, continued to struggle on the mound for Lexington. Pardo (0-5) moved to 0-13 in his professional career, hurling 41⁄3 innings of eight-hit, four-run ball.
Pardo quickly found himself in a 2-0 hole after giving up a two-run home run to Winn, and he never recovered. The Miami native got in trouble nearly every inning, but he did a fair amount of damage control to give up just four runs.
The way the Legends were swinging the bats, and with Tejeda dealing 93 mile per hour fastballs, Winn's two-run blast was enough to send Pardo and the Legends to another loss.
“You've got to find ways to get on base and put pressure on the defense,” Langbehn said. “But we never did that. Ever. Didn't even come close.”