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To Ducks' relief, using Jared Lansford as starter keeps paying off in win over Camden

Ducks starting pitcher Jared Lansford delivers a pitch

Ducks starting pitcher Jared Lansford delivers a pitch in a game against Camden at Bethpage Ballpark, Sunday, Aug. 31, 2014. Credit: George A. Faella

At the end of last season, Jared Lansford approached Ducks manager Kevin Baez with an idea.

Lansford wanted to begin this season as a starting pitcher.

There was one problem: He had established himself as the Ducks' setup man. Removing him from the key relief role would turn the eighth inning into a question mark for Baez.

There also was a quirk. Lansford, 27, hadn't been a starting pitcher since 2006, when he was in the Oakland A's farm system.

"We said we'd look into it and we saw that as far as what we had, he was going to start out as a starter in the beginning and we'd see how it went," Baez said.

It's gone pretty well so far.

Lansford -- son of former major-league All-Star Carney Lansford and brother of Ducks pitcher Josh Lansford -- continued his resurrection as a starter Sunday night as the Ducks beat the Camden Riversharks, 6-1, in front of 4,716 at Bethpage Ballpark in Central Islip.

Lansford (8-4) tossed seven strong innings, allowing one earned run and five hits, striking out five and walking two. The righthander lowered his ERA to 3.01 in 1402/3 innings.

"This opportunity means a lot to me," Lansford said. "If this was going to be one of my last years playing, I wanted to give starting another shot."

Fehlandt Lentini hit a two-run homer to leftfield in the sixth to give the Ducks a 4-1 lead. Adam Bailey added a towering solo homer in the seventh and Lentini hit an RBI single in the eighth. Brendan Harris' two-run single to center had given the Ducks a 2-0 lead in the second.

The only bump in the road for Lansford came in the sixth. He loaded the bases with one out before retiring Jose Julio-Ruiz on a groundout, with a run scoring, and getting Jose Morales to hit a soft pop-up.

The Ducks have used several relievers in the setup role with limited success, but the move has been a good one. "There's no question," Baez said, "Lansford has worked out pretty well for us."

The Ducks (25-26) can earn a playoff spot by winning the Liberty Division second-half title. They are three games behind the Somerset Patriots (28-23) with 20 games left.

The Ducks (65-55 overall) also are three games behind the Lancaster Barnstormers (68-52) for a potential wild-card spot, awarded to the team with the best overall record that has not clinched a playoff spot, regardless of division.

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