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Chiaffredo starts, puts end to wacky Suns comeback

June 04, 2000|By BOB PARASILITI

If blame has to be given, point at Paul Chiaffredo.

Sunday's game at Municipal Stadium turned into a three-ring circus and the Hagerstown Suns catcher became the ringleader. Everything started and ended because of Chiaffredo. Meanwhile, Brandon Jackson prolonged things and Shannon Carter made them exciting.

cont. from sports page

Starting with a play earlier that got manager Rolando Pino ejected, Chiaffredo bounced a single off Delmarva shortstop Ed Rogers with two outs in the ninth, allowing Carter to scamper home from second base with the winning run and give the Suns a wacky, come-from-behind 10-9 victory at Municipal Stadium.

"For 4 2/3 innings, it was a great game," Chiaffredo said. "After that, things started to happen. But that's the game of baseball. You stay in it long enough, you're going to see a lot of strange things."

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Strange things, indeed ...

* Considering that Pino, hitting coach Ken Landreaux and outfielder Auntwan Riggins were all ejected from the game.

* Considering the Suns (28-29) surrendered an 8-5 lead in the top of the ninth as Rob Hamann (4-3) was roughed up for four runs to put Hagerstown behind.

* Considering that Brandon Jackson, who came on to replace injured shortstop Doug Roper in the sixth, barely lined a homer over the left-field wall with one out in the ninth to tie the game. Roper severely sprained his right ankle around the second base bag and was rushed to Washington County Hospital for observation wearing an air splint. He was in the clubhouse after the game. The ankle wasn't broken but he is scheduled for a MRI today.

* Considering Carter took a couple of baserunning risks and got out of jail free by scoring the go-ahead and then the winning runs to lift the Suns.

"It was a great job by Brandon," Chiaffredo said. "I couldn't have done what I did unless Brandon tied the game. That was the important run."

The whole ordeal started in the sixth, just after Roper left the game. With the bases loaded and one run in, Chiaffredo's wacky day began. He apparently was hit on the hand by a Jancy Andrade pitch, but umpire Andrew Vincent called the Suns' pitcher back to the plate, saying the ball was fouled off.

Pino argued the play with Vincent was ejected. Chiaffredo, without any feeling in the hand, feebly lined out to short for the first out.

"I got the bruise to prove it," he said. "After that happened, I just threw the at-bat away. I was in a position to hit a sacrifice fly and drive someone in. I didn't. It was good to get the second chance."

The Suns weren't dead, as Carter challenged center fielder Matt Riordan's arm on a short sacrifice fly by Chris Weekly and scored.

"I saw that he didn't set up behind the ball, so I tried it," Carter said. "I think he thought I was going to fake it and I tested his arm."

Hagerstown came away with a four-run inning and a 7-5 lead.

Delmarva used a two-run homer by Willie Harris to ignite the four-run ninth and took a 9-8 lead when Riordan was called safe on a play at the plate with Chiaffredo, but looked to have missed the plate. Landreaux argued with Vin cent and became ejection No. 2.

Riggins was tossed when base umpire Mike Belin ruled he was trying to knock the ball out of first baseman Wesley Rachels glove while crossing the base for the first out.

With pitching coach Hector Berrios coaching at third base and the game tied after Jackson's homer, Chiaffredo hit the sharp grounder off Rogers and Carter steamed home.

"I was just listening to Hector," Carter said. "I got a good jump and he told me to keep going ... this was a rollercoaster game."

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