CORPUS CHRISTI (CC Hooks) - Bobby Doran struck out a career high 10 batters and tossed five and one third shutout innings to lead the Hooks over the Midland RockHounds 7-1 in front of 4,878 fans at Whataburger Field Tuesday night.
The Hooks played small ball in the bottom of the first inning after Robbie Grossman led off with a double. Andy Simunic bunted him to second and Grossman scored on a Drew Locke sacrifice fly to give the Hooks a 1-0 lead.
Early on Corpus Christi (36-21, 73-54) played its second pitcher's duel in as many nights. Doran and RockHounds (24-31, 59-66) starting pitcher Fabio Castro matched zeroes the next four and a half innings, before Castro ran into trouble in the fifth.
The southpaw struck out Simunic to open the inning, but allowed consecutive walks to Jon Singleton and Locke to get pulled from the game. Castro's replacement, Jose Guzman, struck out Austin Wates looking, but gave up a double down the left field line to Chris Wallace to score both runners and put the Hooks in front 3-0.
Castro (2-5) took the loss after he allowed three earned runs on three hits and four walks with five strikeouts in five and one-third innings. Hooks manager Keith Bodie pulled Doran after five and one third innings as well. Doran (5-2) struck out 10 hitters and allowed four hits and a pair of walks on his way to a second straight win.
Corpus Christi added four runs in the bottom of the seventh inning. Robbie Grossman hit a two-run home run, his second of the year, before Castro loaded the bases for Wates. The Hooks' left fielder singled to right to plate Simunic; Jeremy Barfield mishandled the ball and Singleton scored to make it 7-0 Hooks.
Alex Sogard pitched two and two third innings of shutout relief, while Arcenio Leon gave up one run in the ninth inning. With the win and San Antonio's loss to Frisco, Corpus Christi's magic number to clinch a playoff spot for the first time since 2006 is now just five.
Game two of the series against the RockHounds is Wednesday night when the Hooks will send Ross Seaton (6-8, 4.41), back from a stint at Triple-A, to the mound against Midland's Murphy Smith (6-9, 4.54) at 7:05.