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Woodards puts the fire out

July 31, 1999|By BOB PARASILITI

Ho-hum. Orlando Woodards had a pretty uneventful Friday.

The Hagerstown Suns reliever came into the game with one out in the sixth inning ... Yawn. Oh yeah, Macon had the go-ahead run on second base ... zzzzz.

But Woodards barely had to stretch to put Macon to sleep. Instead he erased the Braves on 2 2/3 hitless innings to allow the Suns to pull away to a 4-2 victory over the Braves before 3,250 fans at Municipal Stadium, leaving all the fireworks for after the game.

"It was just the way it always is," Woodards said. "The bullpen always comes in with the game on the line. I just tried to pitch and hit my spots and let them hit the ball. Sixty percent of the time, when they hit the ball, it's an out."

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That's sort of a nonchalant attitude to the situation, but Woodards (7-3) acted like he left his pulse in the locker room to pick up the win after a superb start by Scott Cassidy.

And especially since the Suns' victory, coupled with Cape Fear's 6-3 loss to Capital City, moved Hagerstown (19-15, 64-38) to a half-game lead in the South Atlantic League's Northern Division.

Cassidy was lifted after surrendering a two-run double to Stewart Smothers to tie the game at 2-2.

The call went to Woodards, who got David Dalton to chop a 20-footer back to him for an unassisted play, but Smothers took third. After walking Jean Boscan, Al Castro grounded to second to end the inning and the threat.

He retired the next six batters he faced before turning the ball over to Jarrod Kingrey in the ninth, who recorded his 22nd save. Woodard left with a line of all zeros, except for the one walk - a reliever's dream.

"The bullpen was working with (roving instructor Bruce Walton) on keeping the ball down," Woodards said. "It worked tonight. I was able to get ahead of hitters and keep the ball down. I've had good success against (Macon) so far this year and I know that (manager Rolando Pino) knows that."

Cassidy was strong, striking out nine in his 5 1/3 innings before falling prey to the pitch count.

The Suns broke the tie in the bottom of the sixth inning, but needed very little offense to do it.

Orlando Hudson singled to center off Macon starter Horacio Ramirez (6-3). Ramirez compounded his problems by throwing away Tyler Thompson's sacrifice bunt for an error to put runners on second and third. Jose Umbria put the Suns ahead with a sacrifice fly off Billy Sylvester, who provided the fourth run with a wild pitch.

Hagerstown jumped out to a 2-0 lead early with a pair of unearned runs. Jorge Nunez legged out a single and took second on a bad throw by Ramirez before scoring on Felipe Lopez's single to left, one of his three hits on the night.

The Suns made it 2-0 in the fourth on Umbria's RBI single.

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