RiverDogs fall out of first place with loss

Keury De La Cruz homered and drove in four runs to lead the Greenville Drive to a 12-6 victory over the Charleston RiverDogs in South Atlantic League action Friday in front of a crowd of 4,772 at Riley Park.

The loss, combined with a win by the Asheville Tourists, knocked the RiverDogs (31-16) out of first place for the first time in 44 days, while Greenville crept within one game of .500, at 23-24.

“It was a tough start for (Evan) Rutckyj, he just didn’t have command of his pitches,” said RiverDogs manager Carlos Mendoza. “Unfortunately, we had to get him out of there early. We were shorthanded in our bullpen because of the last three days, playing long games. We battled, got close in the end and just came up a few plays short at the end.”

Charleston scored first when two first-inning singles brought up Ben Gamel, who doubled to score Cito Culver. But Greenville came back in a big way in the second.

Greenville starter Mickey Pena (4-2) kept the RiverDogs’ lineup in check through five strong innings. He allowed just two runs, only one earned, on six hits and just one walk, striking out nine. The RiverDogs got their second run off him in the fifth when Kelvin De Leon doubled and scored on an error.

RiverDogs RHP Brett Gerritse (0-1, 4.57 ERA) will be up against RHP Jason Garcia (0-2, 5.86 ERA) with the first pitch set for 7:05 p.m. today. The first 1,000 fans through the gate will receive a free Charlie Pillow Pet Case.