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Braves 12, Suns 9

August 02, 1999|By BOB PARASILITI

The Hagerstown Suns are pretty lucky that the game of baseball isn't scored on style points.

Not even that fickle Russian judge could have been blamed for Hagerstown's most recent performance.

The Suns lost on technical marks on Sunday - the ones that don't show up on any scoreboard - as the Macron Braves slapped around four Hagerstown pitchers for 17 hits in a 12-9 victory at Municipal Stadium.

"Our fundamentals stunk today," said Suns manager Rolando Pino.

The assessment was simple, to the point, but true.

Fundamentally speaking, the Hagerstown Suns were far from fundamentally sound on Sunday. In fact, the only sound Hagerstown's fundamentals made came from the fizz from the Alka-Seltzer Pino probably needed to calm his stomach.

Plop, plop. Fizz, fizz. Oh what disbelief this is.

"We didn't get to the right places for plays," Pino said. "We didn't hit the right cutoff men, allowing runners to advance. We don't cover first on a bunt. We don't execute well on a rundown. It all allowed runners to get extra bases."

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The scoreboard only showed one error for the Suns (67-40, 19-17), but that accounts for physical errors. On Sunday, the uncounted mental gaffes needed a tote board.

"You can't assume all of them led to runs, but it doesn't help," Pino said.

The least help went to Suns starter Taylor Smith (7-6), who didn't have his best game, but Hagerstown didn't exactly give him a safety net either. Macon runners continually advanced into scoring position.

Troy Cameron slapped a two-run single to left with two outs in the first to give the Braves (58-46, 18-16) the 2-0 lead they used as their cushion for the entire game. They capped the game with an four-run outburst in the ninth on two-run homers by David Dalton and Greg Strickland off Thom Dreier in the ninth, to build a 12-6 lead.

The Suns scored single runs in the second through sixth innings on RBI hits by Ryan Bundy, Jeff Maloney and Tyler Thompson along with a solo homer in the fourth by Joe Dusan.

Miraculously, Hagerstown had a chance to tie the game with the bases loaded in the eighth. Felipe Lopez laced a two-run single to cut the deficit to 8-6 for the last hurrah.

The Suns got three runs in the eighth on a RBI single by Maloney and a two-run homer by Bundy to make the final score respectable.

"We got behind and our execution sucked, but we still had a chance to get back into the game and win," Pino said. "That's about all a manager can ask for. Taylor pitched his butt off to keep us in the game, but we didn't help him."

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