CORPUS CHRISTI (CC Hooks) - Corpus Christi doubled and tripled its way to victory over Midland Wednesday at Whataburger Field.
And the Hooks received a big boost from a left-hander making his first Double-A start.
Luis Cruz no-hit the RockHounds for 5 1/3 innings while filling in for veteran Ross Seaton, who was promoted to Oklahoma City for a start at Round Rock. The result: a 3-1 decision that enabled Corpus Christi to remain within two games of San Antonio in the Texas League South Division second-half race.
The Hooks (35-23; 77-51) qualified for the playoffs by capturing the first-half championship. Midland (22-36; 55-73) has dropped 22 of 30 vs. Corpus Christi this year.
Cruz threw 100 pitches - 60 for strikes - and walked two while fanning five over six innings. He retired 13 of 14 to begin the night, the lone blemish a lead-off walk to Dusty Coleman in the second.
In the meantime, the Hooks battered Zach Neal (8-11) for six doubles and a triple.
Doubles an out apart produced the night's first run. Preston Tucker's drive to right-center was almost gloved by diving right fielder Conner Crumbliss. Erik Castro planted a two-out two-bagger 20 feet inside the right-field line.
Extra-base hits were the order of frame No. 2 as well. The Hooks moved up 2-0 when Raoul Torrez roped a one-out double off the left-field wall and Drew Muren followed with a triple into the left-center field gap.
Matt Duffy joined the extra-base parade during the fourth as Corpus Christi ran its lead to 3-0. An out after his lead-off double, Muren smoked an RBI double to left-center.
Each of the seven hits Neal surrendered in five innings of work went for extra bases. He walked and struck out one.
Not to be excluded, Midland used consecutive two-base hits by Crumbliss and D'Arby Myers to post a singleton off Cruz (1-0). Andrew Robinson executed a two-inning hold and Jonas Dufek notched his third save, but not without ninth-inning drama. Dufek survived Jefry Marte's two-out single and - you guessed it - a Max Muncy double.
Muren has a six-game hitting streak.
The Hooks and 'Hounds meet at 7:05 on Thirsty Thursday as fans enjoy discounted beer and soda from Stripes. The first 2,500 take home a Hooks Sling Bag from Reliant Energy.
Hooks lefty David Rollins (0-0) faces Sean Murphy (7-6).
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