Lexington Legends

Legends continue hot start at home

The one thing missing from the "fan experience" at Applebee's Park finally is fixed.

At least, that's how it looked Monday night as the Lexington Legends opened their ninth season in the park with a 2-1 victory over the Kannapolis Intimidators.

Quality baseball from Lexington's home team had been in short supply in recent seasons. The Legends set franchise records for losses in each of the last two years.

After opening this season with a three-game sweep at West Virginia, the Legends are off to their best start ever at 4-0.

All four victories have gone to the starting pitchers.

For Monday's winner, Robert Bono, it was his first professional win. He went 0-4 each of the past two seasons, first at Greeneville and then at Tri-City.

"It feels good. But I've been doing it all along," Bono said. "Just keep going out, throw the ball the same way. ... Tonight, I was going right after it."

Phil Disher and Brandon Barnes each had two of the Legends' six hits. Disher drove in a run, and Barnes executed a hit-and-run to set up the second run.

The Legends had their share of runners thrown out, including two pickoffs in one inning.

"That comes with the territory," Manager Tom Lawless said of the Legends' aggressive running. "We executed the hit-and-run. We got a run out of it. We scratched (out) a two-out run in the first.

"As long as we get good pitching, if we can scratch runs across one at a time here and there, it keeps us in the game."

Bono, 20, pitched like a crafty veteran over five shutout innings. Relying mostly on a sinking two-seam fastball and a curveball, he gave up five hits, no walks and struck out three.

The biggest threat against Bono came in the second inning, courtesy of 8-9 hitters John Curtis and Jordan Cheatham.

Curtis led off with a single. Cheatham then doubled to the gap in left-center.

Center-fielder Jay Austin hit his cutoff man, shortstop Ricardo Bonfante, who relayed to catcher Federico Hernandez just in time to nab Curtis at the plate.

"That's set in stone — you've got that one play, and you 'high road' from there," Bono said. "That was great."

Arcenio Leon followed Bono with two no-hit innings, walking two and fanning two.

Henry Villar worked 11⁄3 innings, striking out four. But a ninth-inning single and walk prompted a call to the bullpen for Daniel Meszaros.

Kenny Williams Jr., son of the White Sox general manager, met Meszaros with a bloop single, loading the bases.

A wild pitch scored Jorge Castillo and moved runners to second and third.

But Meszaros got Curtis and Cheatham, Lexington's 10th and 11th strikeout victims, to notch his third save.

The Legends got to Kannapolis 6-foot-10 lefty Garrett Johnson for a run in the first.

Steve Brown knocked a two-out single to center, then stole his second base of the season. He scored on Disher's single up the middle.

Bonfante led off with a walk in the Lexington fifth. He hustled to third on Barnes' hit-and-run single up the middle. A groundball fielder's choice by Austin scored Bonfante.

Charlis Burdie and Leroy Hunt held the Legends without a runner over the last three innings.

But the home club already had all it needed.