As Keith Weiser entered the dugout following his final pitch Tuesday night, Modesto Nuts' manager Jerry Weinstein congratulated him for throwing seven shutout innings.
Well, in essence at least, that was Weiser's contribution to the Nuts' 4-1 victory over Lancaster at John Thurman Field.
Weiser indeed threw a seven-inning shutout — after giving up a home run to JetHawks' center fielder Jason Place, the first batter of the game.
But after that, the lone lefty in the Nuts' rotation cruised through the next 21 outs, allowing only four more singles to notch his first victory of the season against two losses.
Matt Repec drove home two runs, and Will Harris earned a save with two innings of relief — running his start-of-season scoreless streak to 13 innings — as the Nuts won for the fifth time in their last six games.
For Weiser, 23, a third-round pick in the 2006 draft out of Miami (Ohio) University, Tuesday's win was significant. He went 17-7 in Asheville to set a Rockies record for wins at any level of Class-A ball.
But despite entering this latest start with a 2.93 ERA in three previous outings this season, he didn't yet have a victory to show for his efforts.
"Getting the win was a sigh of relief," Weiser said. "Starting off with two losses gets you in the hole. I felt I pitched well enough to win some games lately, but that's baseball. You have to go out every time with the same mentality and hopefully everything works."
In his last start, Weiser allowed only one run on four hits in 5º innings on the road against this same Lancaster team. The Nuts eventually won that game 2-1 as part of a doubleheader.
Weiser wasn't involved in the decision, but his success gave him an extra boost of confidence entering Tuesday's game. Then, Place came to bat.
"He got hold of that one," said Weiser, who could only turn and watch the ball disappear over the fence in left-center. "I was down in the count, he was expecting a fastball and I left it up where he could drive it. It upset me to where maybe I focused a little bit more."
The Nuts, who had baserunners in every inning, took the lead with a two-run second inning. Cole Garner blooped a hit down the right-field line and legged out a leadoff triple, then scored on Daniel Mayora's ground ball.
Victor Ferrante followed with a single to left and went to third when Jay Cox singled. Repec's fly ball to right was misjudged and fell in, with Ferrante scoring as Cox was forced at second base.
Two walks preceded Garner's two-out single in the third for a 3-1 lead, then Mayora's leadoff walk in the eighth became insurance when he scored on Repec's sacrifice fly.
"It was just enough offense," Weinstein said. "But we're getting away from the 1-2-3 innings for the other pitchers and in every inning we're being competitive."
Bee staff writer Brian VanderBeek can be reached at email@example.com or 578-2300.