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More of the same - Suns lead, then lose

July 27, 2000

More of the same - Suns lead, then lose



By BOB PARASILITI / Staff Writer


The more things change for the Hagerstown Suns, the more they stay the same.

Hagerstown made its 37th roster move before losing its 55th game of the season on Thursday. And the Suns did it all in familiar fashion - a lack of clutch hits and another failure by the bullpen.

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The Suns staked starter Cameron Reimers to a 6-0 lead after five innings and then sat and watched as Charleston (W.Va.) scored seven unanswered runs - including four in the eighth - as the Alley Cats scored a come-from-behind, 7-6 win.

Before the game, the Suns sent outfielder Reed Johnson and pitcher Aaron Dean to Dunedin and replaced them with pitcher Tyler Renwick and outfielder Alvin Morrow. It didn't change the Suns' luck, as they lost for the third straight time.

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"There's no way that Reimers should pitch the way he did and not get a decision," Suns manager Rolando Pino said. "We shouldn't be blowing a 6-1 lead like that. The relief pitching had been good for the last two or three weeks, but today it couldn't hold the lead."

Reimers rolled through the Alley Cats (16-18, 40-65) for six solid innings, allowing one run on four hits and a walk while striking out eight. Then he turned it over to the bullpen and the stampede was on.

Josh Stevens lasted two-thirds of an inning, allowing two runs. Justin Stine came on to shut down the seventh to keep the Suns (13-19, 47-55) ahead, 6-3, but let all three batters he faced in the eighth reach before giving way to Jerrod Payne.

Payne allowed four straight singles without recording an out, which brought home all four eighth-inning runs to put Hagerstown behind. Mike Tonis drove in the tying run and Willy Ruiz singled up the middle to bring home what proved to be the winning run.

It took Marc Bluma to put out the fire, collecting five strikeouts in two innings, but it was too late.

"You hope to win when you're up 6-1," Pino said. "It wasn't the fault of the hitting today."

But it didn't help. Hagerstown owned a 6-0 lead despite failing to score with the bases loaded in the first. They repeated the futility in the eighth.

The Suns scored a run in the second on Shawn Pearson's RBI single off starter Jason Kaanoi. They added two in the fourth on Jimmy Alvarez's two-run single and went up 6-0 in the fourth on RBI hits by Shawn Fagan and Jose Umbria.

Hagerstown had the chance to seize the game back in the eighth. Jaime Goudie reached when reliever Ryan Bukvich fumbled his bunt, but Bukvich got Shannon Carter to hit into a fielder's choice to home and Brandon Jackson and Fagan to fly out.

Jackson's fly forced Norris Hopper to make a running catch in short right-center field, but Pearson failed to tag up at third to draw a throw.

"He wasn't going to score on that," Pino said. "He did the right thing. We just didn't hit when the game was on the line."

Bukvich got his second save while preserving the win for Buddy Yen (1-1).

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