Danny Garcia's decision not to join Team USA this season continued to pay big benefits for the Peninsula Oilers Tuesday in Fairbanks.
Garcia, who made Team USA but elected to come play with the Oilers instead, went 2-for-4 with a run and an RBI from his leadoff spot as Peninsula defeated the Alaska Goldpanners of Fairbanks 9-4.
Garcia joined the Oilers after they lost their first two games in the Alaska Baseball League. Since then, Peninsula has ripped off five straight victories.
"As soon as Garcia got here, everybody just started lighting it up," said Oilers center fielder Jeremy Reed in a radio interview after Tuesday's game. "Everybody just follows his lead."
The Oilers also received huge games from Reed and left fielder Jeff Jones Tuesday. Reed was 3-for-4 with two runs and an RBI, while Jones was 4-for-5 with three runs.
All told, Peninsula banged out 15 hits Tuesday, giving them 41 hits in their last three games.
Fairbanks appeared ready to match the Oilers frenetic scoring pace in the early going. Peninsula starter Brian Tarajack gave up four earned runs in two innings of work as Peninsula entered the top of the fifth inning trailing 4-2.
However, the Oilers notched five runs in the top of the fifth to take command of the ballgame. Reed said the big Oilers rally appeared to take the wind of out Fairbanks' sails.
Relievers Frank Esposito and David Humen did a remarkable job in middle relief to assure the Goldpanners would not catch up.
Esposito, the winner, pitched three scoreless and hitless innings while Humen, credited with the save, pitched four scoreless innings and gave up just one hit.
At one point in the ballgame, the duo retired 15 straight Panners.
The Oilers will look to keep their streak alive Thursday when they face the Mat-Su Miners at 7 p.m. The game can be heard on 920 AM.
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