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Suns drop another

August 02, 1999|By BOB PARASILITI

Joe Casey is to the Hagerstown Suns what kryptonite is to Superman.

Every time one is around, the other becomes powerless and defenseless.

Casey was on the mound again Monday and the Suns became less than mortal, committing five errors - including three in a three-run third inning - to fall 6-1 to the Macon Braves at Municipal Stadium.

[cont. from sports page]

It was the second straight night the Suns' defense was downright offensive while their offense was on the defensive. The only difference was Hagerstown's errors didn't show on the scoreboard on Sunday because they were of the mental variety.

On Monday, the Suns got credit for all their gaffes in the "E" column of the linescore.

"If you can't catch and throw the ball, you can't do anything," said an exasperated Suns manager Rolando Pino. "We play defense today and that game is 1-0, 2-0 or 2-1 in our favor with a couple of breaks. Joe has got some tough luck. We've done this to him three or four times this season."

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Casey (6-10) might want to consider trying an alias when it's his turn to pitch. He was the victim of a nine-error pratfall by the Suns on July 11 in a 17-7 loss to Charleston (S.C.). On Monday, he allowed five runs, but only one was earned.

The infield became a minefield again on Monday as the Suns (67-41, 19-18) failed to give any resemblance of a team that held a one-game lead in the South Atlantic League Northern Division's second-half race, despite losing three straight.

"The last couple of times out there, we can't make any plays," Pino said.

The Suns made defensive drills look like boot camp in the second inning.

First baseman Joe Dusan misplayed Troy Cameron's grounder, right before shortstop Felipe Lopez dropped Cory Aldridge's roller.

Casey came back to get two outs before walking David Dalton to load the bases. Gregg Maluchnik hit a grounder to short that Lopez fielded, but second baseman Jorge Nunez failed to catch the throw, allowing three runs to score.

The Suns countered with their only run in the bottom of the inning when Nunez singled and took second on passed ball before scoring when Cameron caught Ryan Fleming's popup and threw it away when trying for a double play.

Macon added two runs in the fifth - one with the help of a Fleming error in center field - and one in the sixth on Dusan's second error.

"(Macon) just wanted this series more than we did," Pino said.

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