Although he’s been having trouble gripping the ball in the early going due to a thumb injury suffered after he slammed a door on it before the season, Tim Haines is getting by on guts and will until the digit heals. He pitched suitable six innings against San Angelo Sunday and picked up his second win on the season with a 7-2 Roadrunner decision. With the win, the team was 8-3 heading into the rest of the homestand this week.

He fell behind consistently, did Haines, one of the league’s best last year, but always seemed to make the key pitch when he had to. Recently he showed the wound off and it is clear that it’s not 100 percent healed.

“It hurts a lot really, still, and that’s surprising,” said the UTPA. “I hope it is OK after this weekend.”

Against the adversity, Haines was able to fight back from the wrong end of long counts, and get the plays behind him at key stretches. Offense also helped, as Alexis Hernandez skied a home to left in the sixth to give the team some breathing room with a 5-2 count. Edinburg had led 2-1 through four and it was 3-2 heading into the sixth.

The defense was sound around Haines, who allowed just six hits and gutted out some tough at-bats by a hard-hitting San Angelo contingent. Carlos Hereaud, who earlier had homered, had started a 3-to-6-to-3 double play to end the sixth, leading to Hernandez’s bomb that plopped into the bullpen.

A frame later, with local Aaron Guerra on in relief of Haines, infielder Felix Molina made a nice long throw from third to nip a runner; Edinburg played better defense that the Colts on a muggy evening at the Stadium.

Prior to Sunday, the Runners had completed a 4-game series with Amarillo by winning 7-3 Saturday night, behind another solid pitching effort from big righty Wardell Starling. The victory salvaged the series, as Edinburg had lost two straight after an 11-8 win Wednesday.

The team averaged 7.2 runs during the first 11 games, yielding 4.8, and held the league lead throughout that stretch.

Starling has now given two nice outings in his return to baseball after arm surgery caused him to lay out last year. In the series opener last week, Mark DiBernardo got the win over the Dillas, but fielding woes continue to plague the Runners in the early going as they allowed four unearned runs that night.

Edinburg will be playing at Edinburg Baseball Stadium all week, wrapping up the homestand Sunday before heading out on the road for 10 games. The Runners are back to the Valley June 27 for a series that lasts through Sunday, July 4, when a big fireworks special is planned for the game that starts at 6:05.

NOTES: Former outfielder Nick Aranda was around the ballpark over the weekend, after he decided to devote his time to work and family following four hustling seasons with the club.

Another former Edinburg man, Eddie Wilson, has returned to the team to provide catching depth. He is enjoying considerable success with the Valley Sports University, the baseball-training academy that started a few years back. The University will open a second facility in McAllen Saturday and Wilson invites folks out to check out the new place. For more information, call 467-5972.

Wilson, who last played in 2008, says he is glad to be back; he’s been signed for the rest of the summer, said manager Vince Moore.