RiverDogs thump Braves, pick up victory No. 50

Charleston RiverDogs shortstop Kyle Holder makes a play during Tuesday’s win over Rome.

With their normally dominant pitching staff struggling to open the second half, the Charleston RiverDogs turned to their ace to roll past the Rome Braves, 9-0, in front of 3,456 fans to open up a homestand at Riley Park on Tuesday night.

Charleston (50-37, 8-10) reshuffled its rotation to bring out its ace, Nestor Cortes (6-1), out of the off day and the decision paid off. The Miami native tossed 62/3 scoreless innings and the offense had a big night to back him up. Cortes gave up just four hits, all singles, and walked one while striking out seven. It was the fourth scoreless outing in the last five starts with Charleston for the RiverDogs left-hander.

After a five-run fourth, Chris Gittens and Mandy Alvarez opened the sixth with a double and a single to chase Rome starter Ricardo Sanchez (5-7). Luis Torrens doubled off reliever Jon Kennedy, and Cesar Diaz later legged out a base hit with the bases loaded to avoid a double play and to make it 7-0.

Hobie Harris and Manolo Reyes combined for 21/3 scoreless innings of relief to secure Charleston’s 11th shutout of the year, the most in the South Atlantic League.

The RiverDogs celebrated another “Take Me Out Tuesday” featuring 2-for-$20 meal and ticket deals at the gate and presented Hard Hat Night at The Joe with the build-up of the atmosphere inside the park throughout the game. The RiverDogs also kicked off the Yankees’ HOPE Week Initiative, teaming up with YoArt!Inc with students’ artwork on display throughout the game.

The RiverDogs continue the three-game series with the Braves on Wednesday afternoon at 12:05 p.m. at The Joe. The RiverDogs start RHP Domingo German (1-1, 5.40) while the Braves counter with RHP Patrick Weigel (5-4, 3.05). It will be a Big Splash Day at the ballpark as The Joe becomes a water park for the day.