BRADENTON -- A quick Jason Creasy equaled a quality Jason Creasy on Wednesday.
Just how the Bradenton Marauders drew it up.
Creasy worked fast during his five-inning start at McKechnie Field, where he didn't factor into a decision in the Marauders' 4-2 loss to the Daytona Cubs.
That wasn't by accident.
"When I don't have good tempo, it doesn't go smoothly, because everything at the last second would be rushed," said Creasy, who allowed a run on five hits and left with a 2-1 lead. "When I have a good tempo, everything is smooth and on time."
Creasy struck out five and didn't walk anyone to lower his earned-run average to 3.86. Part of the reason was his slider, a recent addition to an arsenal that also includes a fastball and change-up.
Another reason was he worked quicker between pitches, which had been a point of emphasis, said Marauders pitcher coach Justin Meccage.
"We've spent a lot of time over the last two weeks on the tempo," Meccage said. "The tempo of the delivery and the tempo in between pitches and the importance of that. Not only with the defense, but just the whole flow of the game. ... It's good for him."
That slider didn't hurt, either. Creasy said he noticed the pitch's progression during his previous two starts even though he was tagged for nine earned runs over eight innings.
Wednesday was the best of both worlds: progress and
results to go with it.
"With the slider and the change-up (Wednesday), no matter what count I needed it, I could throw it," Creasy said. "Hopefully it keeps improving, and I can just keep building on top of it."
The Marauders (21-25) took a 2-0 lead after three innings thanks to a pair of RBI sacrifice flies from D.J. Crumlich. The Education Day game, which attracted scores of young students on field trips, started at 10:30 a.m.
The Cubs rallied off reliever Robby Rowland and took the lead for good on Marco Hernandez's two-run home run in the seventh.
Bradenton put two runners on in the ninth but Cubs' reliever Andrew McKirahan struck out Taylor Lewis to record his third save of the season.
It may not have been the result Creasy was hoping for, but Wednesday's start marked a positive -- and quick -- step forward.
"The past couple of games haven't been good," he said. "Having one of these games is good and reassuring that everything is still there and good."