Richmond defeats Fisher Cats in first post-COVID encounter

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Rafael Lantigua. Photo/Andrew Sylvia

Manchester, New Hampshire – The Fisher Cats and Richmond Flying Squirrels met at long last on Tuesday night at Delta Dental Stadium, playing each other for the first time since June 2019. New Hampshire  (44-53) couldn’t channel the home run power from last week against the Squirrels (49-47) and lost, 8-1.
Rafael Lantigua started the bottom of the first with a single and ended the night 3-for-5 in his team-leading 23rd multi-hit game of the season.
For the first seven innings, though, New Hampshire was 1-for-9 with runners in scoring position. They left runners stranded on second or third in the second, fifth, sixth and eighth innings.
The Cats got on the board in the bottom of the eighth thanks to a leadoff single from Addison Barger and an RBI double from Luis De Los Santos. Barger has hits in all but one of his 15 Double-A starts, and De Los Santos hit .338 with 11 RBIs in the month of July.
An unlikely trio of Alejando Melean, Yosver Zulueta and Luis Quinones combined for 8.1 innings on the mound for New Hampshire. Melean and Quinones have been used primarily as starters this season, while Zulueta has made two starts and three relief outings at Double-A.
Melean spun three scoreless frames to start before Richmond third baseman Brett Auerbach hit a solo home run to put Richmond in front, 1-0, in the top of the fourth. Melean finished with one earned run in 4.0 innings in his second Double-A start, and he struck out three batters.
The flamethrowing Zulueta gave up a triple and a homer in the fifth but buckled down nicely afterwards. He allowed two earned runs in 1.2 innings, striking out one.
Quinones took over in the top of the seventh and at one point retired seven batters in a row with five consecutive strikeouts. After several walks, Quinones came out, and New Hampshire gave up a grand slam to spoil his final line.
The Fisher Cats trailed, 3-1, entering the ninth, but Richmond pulled away for the 8-1 win.

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