ZEBULON — As a competitor, David Bell always wants to play the full nine innings.
But as the Carolina Mudcats manager, Bell will take a win however he can get it, even if it is only five innings.
Yonder Alonso hit a two-run homer in the bottom of the first inning, and Tom Cochran allowed just two hits in five innings as the Mudcats defeated the West Tenn Diamond Jaxx 2-0 Monday afternoon at Five County Stadium.
The Mudcats moved 11/2 games behind North Division leader Huntsville with five games left to play in the first half of the Southern League's regular season.
The game was delayed twice by rain -- the first time in the top of the third inning, lasting 55 minutes, and the second one in the middle of the fifth lasting 15 minutes before the game was called.
"You don't ever want to see rain," Bell said. "But the name of the game is to get the win. It's good to play in a situation where everything gets magnified."
The most magnified of all was Bell's decision to keep Cochran in the game after the first rain delay.
When the umpires sent both teams to the dugouts in the third, the Diamond Jaxx had David Espinosa on second base, and Cochran had leadoff man Brent Johnson at a 1-2 count.
Bell said if the delay had lasted a few minutes longer, he would have replaced Cochran, but ultimately he went with his gut and kept him in. Cochran struck out Espinosa on the first pitch after the delay, ending the Diamond Jaxx's last threat of the game.
Cochran's win came courtesy of Alonso's shot to deep center on a fastball low and away. It was the first baseman's first home run as a Mudcat.
"Finally, things are going a little better, and I'm a little luckier," Alonso said. "I just try to let my bat do the work, and it got the win."
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