Matt Packer has struggled in the first inning this season.
In Tuesday night’s 13-6 loss to the New Britain Rock Cats, his first-inning struggles reached an all-time high.
Packer entered the game with a 2.64 ERA, second in the Eastern League.
After 2⅓ innings, it had ballooned to 3.22.
The first four batters Packer faced came in to score. Not exactly a recipe for success.
Packer walked the leadoff batter before Eddie Rosario blasted a ball to the gap in right-center field and was thinking three bases.
Ronny Rodriguez bare-handed the relay throw on a bounce, turned and rushed his throw, sailing it over the third baseman’s head, allowing Rosario to end up where he started the at-bat.
Following a bloop double, cleanup hitter Miguel Sano, ranked as the Twins No. 2 prospect and the No. 10 prospect in the Major League Baseball to FanGraphs analyst Marc Hulet’s midseason top-50 list, blasted a 1-1 fastball off the batters eye in center field for his 11th home run.
Packer retired the next two before allowing four consecutive singles to score three more runs, and after one inning, the Aeros (55-60) trailed 7-0.
“He was pitching up in the zone, that’s why he got hit,” Aeros manager Edwin Rodriguez said. “He’s the type of pitcher that everything has got to be working for him. He was even trying to bounce some pitches and he still kept them up in the zone.”
When the Aeros put men on first and second with two outs in the bottom of the first, Cedric Hunter was picked off second base to end the inning and was subsequently ejected from the game for arguing the call.
The Rock Cats (55-60) scored two more runs on five hits in the next two innings, and Packer’s night was over.
Packer dropped to 10-7 with the loss, allowing 10 earned runs on 12 hits and a walk over 2⅓ innings.
Matt Summers started for New Britain and kept them in the game, allowing two runs on four hits and three walks in six innings.
He struck out three and is now 1-1.
Summers held the Aeros scoreless until the sixth inning when Jesus Aguilar belted a two-run homer, his 14th of the year, over the left-field fence.
Jake Lowery padded his stats in the bottom of the eighth, hitting his sixth home run of the year to cut the deficit to 13-6.