With the score 4-1 Atlantic City in the 7th inning, Darren Blakely hit a 2-run blast over the left field fence to bring the Spirit to within 1 at 4-3, but they couldn't make the last step and tie the game as the Surf went on to win 4-3.
Shawn McNamara lasted 5 innings, giving up all 4 Surf runs on 5 hits. Derek Drage, Donny Langdon and Jamie Baker pitched 4 dominant innings of relief to keep the game winnable. Surf lefty Brian Radway tossed 7 innings and gave up 3 runs to earn his 5th win of the year.
Ed Montague was the star for Atlantic City, going 3-for-4 and driving in 3 runs including one on an RBI double in the first inning. Ex-Spirit Rob Fischer's sac fly in the 3rd inning plated the only Surf run that wasn't driven in by the Capitales' 2006 playoff hero.
Big Josue Lopez had a less-than-stellar debut for the Spirit, failing to collect a hit and bouncing into a critical double play in the 8th inning.
Gary Roche's infield RBI single was the only run-scoring play for the Spirit outside of Blakely's blast. So once again, offense was the issue for the Spirit as even their "#6" starter Shawn McNamara pitched well enough to win.
At this point I'm going to go ahead and say that our chances of a first half title are over. That's not to say I'm giving up on the season as a whole - this league is way too watered down to say that, and with the pitching staff this team has we are plenty capable of going on an 11-2 tear over a two week span. With the playoff format as it is, there's less emphasis on winning a half, so we still certainly have a chance to make the postseason. But making up 6 games on the Jackals at this point while the offense is still very much stagnant seems very unrealistic, I'm afraid. Time to widen the focus.