A double steal with two outs in a one-run game might seem to some as a sign of desperation.
But York Revolution manager Mark Mason had to do something to jump start his offense, which had been held scoreless in the first four innings Monday night in the series finale against visiting Sugar Land.
So the Revs skipper called for two of his fastest base runners to steal second and third. The move worked, although that accomplishment isn't much of a surprise for a Revs team that leads the Atlantic League in stolen bases so far this season.
"We were just trying to get something going. We were in a situation where we had a lot of runners on," Mason said.
The offensive woes continued, though, when Chad Tracy went down swinging to end the scoring threat. The Revs later went on to lose, 5-1, in front of 3,313 fans at Santander Stadium.
York was held to five hits and left nine runners stranded, with its only run coming on a sacrifice fly by Salvador Paniagua that scored Jason Repko from third base in the bottom of the sixth.
The Revs have been held to 12 combined runs in the last six games, a stretch in which they've gone 2-4. After York (25-20) won Friday's opener, Sugar Land (22-22) closed out the series by taking the next three. Sugar Land starter Steve Hammond (3-5) picked up the win Monday by holding York scoreless on four hits in five innings.
"We've struggled hitting the ball here lately," Mason said. "Right now we have to try to take some different approaches at the plate. All the teams are pitching us the same way. But you go through those little swells of five or six games where you kill the ball and then you have four games where you can't hit the ball."
Pitching: York again failed to capitalize on a solid outing from its starting pitcher. Taking the mound on only three days rest, right-hander Jorge Martinez (2-1) went five innings, holding Sugar Land to four hits with three strikeouts and two walks over 76 pitches, 49 of them for strikes. Martinez, a 31-year-old right-hander who defected from Cuba last July and is pitching in the United States for the first time this season, tossed first-pitch strikes to 15 of 22 batters Monday night, giving up one unearned run in the fourth inning thanks to a pair of Travis Garcia errors, resulting in Martinez's first loss of the season.
Monday marked the third time in four games a York starter pitched on three days rest, which Mason has been forced to do because right-hander Corey Thurman remains inactive because he's in Michigan to be with his ailing father. Still, York starters surrendered only seven earned runs against Sugar Land in the four-game series for an ERA of 2.82.
Rest: There is a silver lining for York despite losing the last three. Tuesday will serve as a much-needed off day for a depleted pitching staff and the team's first day of rest since May 12. The Revs capped off a stretch of 29 games in 28 days on Monday night, with the team having gone 17-12 over the span dating back to May 13. Plus, York pitching has accumulated an impressive 2.81 ERA over the last 25 games, with York going 15-10 during the stretch. Coming into Monday, York's 3.41 team ERA ranked as the second-lowest in the Atlantic League. And the club on Tuesday is expected to sign a reliable pitcher who will step into the starting rotation later in the week.
"Overall we're in pretty good shape," Mason said. "We have a tough stretch coming up with 11 of 14 on the road. We just finished 17 of the last (29) on the road."
Notes: The Revs released outfielder Ruddy Yan on Monday. Yan batted .087 in 10 games for York this season. ... Following Tuesday's off day, York will next hit the road for a three-game series at Camden starting Wednesday.
— Reach John Walk at firstname.lastname@example.org.