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Suns steal one from Shorebirds

July 13, 1998|By BOB PARASILITI

When Delmarva's Matt Riley hesitated, Hagerstown's Tony Peters didn't.

In fact, the Suns designated hitter did what he does best ... he got down and dirty about it.

Peters' return to the Suns active roster on Sunday was innocent enough - he drew a leadoff walk. But he followed it up with two stolen bases to ignite Hagerstown's four-run first inning and a 4-0 South Atlantic League victory over the Shorebirds.

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"It's important for the leadoff hitter to get on and cause disturbances on the bases," Peters said. "He needs to get good healthy leads and help create situations for the batters. I just like to run, and I'm the one who always seems to get dirty."

As it turned out, those were good habits for the Suns (8-16, 52-42 overall). After Hagerstown's quick outburst, the game turned into a bona fide pitchers' duel between Riley (2-1) and the Suns' Clayton Andrews (7-6).

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Riley, who entered the game with a 0.30 earned run average in seven appearances, held the Suns hitless for his final 5 1/3 innings of work. In fact, he retired 16 of the last 17 batters he faced, including a stretch of 11 strikeouts in 12 batters. The left-hander finished with a Delmarva franchise record-tying 14 strikeouts while allowing three hits and three walks.

Andrews was equally impressive, working seven shutout innings while allowing three hits and one walk while striking out seven. The outing reduced his league-leading ERA to 2.05.

"Clayton pitched an outstanding game, and you just have to tip your hat to him," Suns manager Marty Pevey said. "But that guy Riley, he was outstanding. We were able to take advantage of a little slowness he had coming to the plate. He has a real deliberate leg kick."

Peters was activated from the disabled list before the game as the Suns released pitcher Anthony Salley. He walked on a borderline pitch to start the inning. Then, the cat-and-mouse game began.

"When I first saw his move and the way he was coming over, I thought we could run," Peters said. "But Marty had the red light on me. When it got to 3-1, I still had the red light, but when it was 3-2, I was going."

Peters took second as Mike Strange struck out. He struck again and stole third before Vernon Wells walked. After Wells stole second, Lorenzo Bagley ripped a two-run double to left, and Chris Hayes duplicated the feat to drive in the third run.

Hayes eventually scored on Josh Phelps' sacrifice fly to left for just enough to top Riley and more than enough to support Andrews.

Delmarva (13-11, 55-40 overall) never got a runner past second base to challenge Andrews, who allowed three singles. Only Mike Diaz got to second as he walked before stealing second with two outs in the fifth.

Randy Albaral got Hagerstown's only other hit after the first inning, a one-out single to right in the eighth off Delmarva reliever William Wise.

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