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Carter belts three-run homer to lift Suns

June 03, 2002|by BOB PARASILITI

bobp@herald-mail.com

Brian Carter harkened back to his childhood to give a boost to his livelihood.

Thanks to a little time off, the Hagerstown Suns outfielder was able to remember when baseball was fun instead of a business.

Carter had more fun than a ballplayer should be allowed on Sunday, clubbing a three-run home run to cap the Suns' four-run fourth inning to compliment Brian Burres' best start of the season in a 4-3 win over Lexington.

The Suns (28-30) have won three of their last four games with Carter driving in the decisive runs on each occasion. Carter, who is seven for his last 15 (.467) with six RBI, used the time off he received from an appendicitis scare to get himself back on track.

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"When I was hurt, it was nice to be able to sit and watch," Carter said. "I realized that it is still a game. I have been playing it since I was a kid. I needed to quit pressing and try and let the game come to me. If I made a mistake, I need to forget it and move on."

The mistake came from Lexington starter Manny Santillan (5-5), who will be the Northern Division starter in the upcoming South Atlantic League All-Star Game.

Julian Benavidez led off the fourth with a double to right center, advanced on Robbie Meyer's single and scored on Keith Anderson's base hit for a 1-0 lead. After Santillan got Miguel Miranda to popup, Carter got the chance to relax.

He turned on a change-up and launched it over the right-field wall for his sixth homer of the year and a 4-0 lead.

"I knew he was going to throw (the change-up) to me," Carter said. "He threw it to (Miranda) and he's a left-handed hitter, too. I knew he was going to start me off with it and I just waited."

The rally was about all Burres (3-5) needed to close down the divison-leading Legends (34-24). The left-hander outdid himself by going 7 2/3 innings - his longest outing of the season - on 103 pitches, allowing four hits and one walk while striking out 10 - a career high.

"That was the game that (catcher Anderson) called," Burres said. "I was able to mix things in and out and got my fastball over. I think I was more loose out there than I have been. I'm feeling more and more comfortable. I hope this gets me on a run of more good outings."

Burres got past the first two innings and coasted into the eighth. He hit Ryan Kochen with a pitch to open the inning before ending his outing by whiffing Jon Helquist and Gavin Wright.

"Burres has had a couple of good and bad outings," Suns manager Mike Ramsey said. "But today, he was as good as it gets. He's a location guy and he kept the ball down and worked both sides of the plate. He did what he has to do to win."

Tommy Whiteman greeted reliever Alberto Montes with a single to set up Anthony Acevedo's three-run homer to right to bring the Legends within a run.

Ryan Meaux, the Suns' All-Star closer, set down Lexington in order in the ninth for his 10th save. Tomas Garrido, who joined the Suns from San Jose before Sunday's game, finished with three hits.

"That's a pretty good club that we took two out of three from," Ramsey said. "We've played pretty good ball for about the last 2 1/2 weeks. I think we can finish the half strong. I think we are going to be a good club."

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