By Josh Cook
In his previous two starts Travis Wood allowed a total of two earned runs, but lost both games.
Friday night the Louisville Bats left-hander found a way to end that trend, he shutout out host Norfolk 7-0 in the first meeting of the season between the two International League cellar dwellers at Harbor Park in Norfolk, Va.
Wood (5-6) gave up just five hits, while walking one and striking out nine over eight innings to pick up his first victory since June 10. In the process Wood lowered his earned-run average to 3.12. Jesus Delgado pitched a perfect ninth inning to preserve the win.
Wood got all the offensive help he would need when Chris Burke led off the game with his fifth home run of the season.
Louisville (35-40), which is in last place in the IL West 10 games behind Columbus, added three runs in the fourth. Wladimir Balentien led off against Norfolk starter Troy Patton (5-8) with his 11th homer of the season. Then Todd Frazier singled with one out and scored on Chris Valaika's double. Wilkin Castillo followed with a double to score Valaika.
The Bats scored two more in the sixth to chase Patton. Frazier doubled with one out, Drew Sutton walked, then Valaika doubled home Frazier.
Andy Mitchell replaced Patton, who gave up nine hits and six earned runs while walking two and striking out two over 5 1/3 innings. Castillo greeted Mitchell with a single to score Sutton on a night when Louisville went 4-for-10 with runners in scoring position.
The Bats added another run in the ninth. Castillo led off with a single, moved to second on Burke's single, took third when Ryan Hanigan hit into a fielder's choice, then scored on Yonder Alonso's single.
Castillo led Louisville's 14-hit attack, going 3-for-4 with two RBIs and a run scored. He is now hitting .345 in June.
Burke, Balentien, Frazier and Valaika added two hits apiece against Norfolk (34-42), which is in last in the IL South 11 games behind Durham.
The second game of the four-game series is at 8 p.m. Saturday night.