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Little things add up to big win for Suns

August 09, 2002|by BOB PARASILITI

bobp@herald-mail.com

At times, it seemed like victories for the Hagerstown Suns were locked away tighter than diamonds in a jewelry case.

But on Thursday, the Suns had a fistful of keys to swing the door wide open.

Miguel Miranda hit the jackpot with a two-run, two-out single up the middle to cap a three-run seventh inning which gave Hagerstown a 3-1 victory over the Columbus RedStixx. It was a pocketful of other instances that helped pick the lock and give the Suns a split in the series.

"That was a great win for us against a good club," Suns manager Mike Ramsey said. "We had some clutch hits and had some good things going on out there. (Miranda) had a huge hit ... he had a good series."

The little-used Miranda made the most of his four starts in the Columbus series with an offensive contribution in every game. On Thursday, it came in the form of a single grounded through the middle of the infield to score the two runs that broke a 1-1 tie off reliever Carlos De Los Santo (5-2).

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"Everytime I get the chance to play, I try to do something to help the team win," Miranda said. "When I first got up, I was trying to hit the ball up the middle. But when I got two strikes, I tried to battle and hit a mistake. I'm not a big home run hitter, so all my swings are going up the middle."

It was the one big play that actually showed up in the boxscore for the Suns. The others were major plays that influenced the outcome. Consider:

Earlier in the seventh, catcher Justin Knoedler hit a one-out grounder to short with runners on first and second. What looked to be a certain double play became just a force at second to keep the inning alive as Knoedler beat the throw to first.

"Everytime I hit a ground ball, I try to get down the line as best I can," Knoedler said. "I was blessed with some speed and I try to use it."

"Knoedler busted his butt to get down the line and that was a huge play," Ramsey said. "It kept the inning alive.

Miranda took two throws from right fielder Robbie Meyer and turned them into outs of trailing runners to short circuit a pair of Columbus rallies - the second would have put runners on second and third in the eighth inning.

Tomas Garrido came off the bench as a pinch-hitter in the seventh and laid down a key sacrifice bunt and then made a huge, diving play a third base with a throw from his knees in the eighth to keep the RedStixx off the board.

And Brion Treadway (4-3) put in his longest outing of the season, going seven innings and 95 pitches to get the win and give the bullpen some needed rest. His only mistake was a leadoff home run to Rodney Choy Foo in the fifth while striking out six without a walk.

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