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Suns brave Macon storm

August 13, 2002|By BOB PARASILITI

bobp@herald-mail.com

While all the world around him was an offensive anarchy, only Brian Burres seemed to have his pitching wits about him.

And that was partially because he left his thinking cap behind him.

Burres came on in relief in a bases-loaded, no-out situation in the sixth inning and retired Macon in order to preserve a one-run lead Monday, allowing the Hagerstown Suns to pull away to a 15-12 victory.

It was a game where pitchers were an endangered species as the two teams combined for 27 runs on 34 hits, 11 walks and four errors -- three by Macon. Burres, a converted starter, was in prime position for instant extinction, but beat the odds.

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"To tell you the truth, I just went out there and tried to do the same thing I always do," the left-hander said. "Whatever my catcher (Justin Knoedler) puts down and I try to throw what he wants. I try to do as little thinking as possible. I let my catcher do it all."

Knoedler must have had the thought pattern of an IBM database.

Dan Padgett was lifted after a bunt single and a pair of walks loaded the bases. Burres came on to strike out cleanup hitter Scott Thorman and Carlos Duran before coaxing Jose Salas to ground to second to end the threat and preserve the Suns' 11-10 lead.

"When he came in, what I worried about was him nibbling on the corners and trying to make the perfect pitch," Suns manager Mike Ramsey said. "We needed him to come out and challenge (Thorman) and he got him. Then he got (Duran) and when he did that I figured we weathered the storm because (Salas) wasn't hitting well against left-handers."

The Suns scored multiple runs in five of the eight innings, including a five-run second and three runs in the first and fifth innings.

Knoedler paced the Suns by going 4-for-4 with three RBI and three runs scored while Branden Florence added three hits and three RBI and Robbie Meyer drove in two with three more hits.

Hagerstown's four pitchers, beginning with starter Todd Uzzell, outlasted 17 hits by Macon, including three home runs. Aaron Herr, the son of former major leaguer Tommy Herr, had a three-run blast in the Braves' five-run fifth and finished with four RBI. Shortstop Tony Pena, the son of former major league catcher Tony Pena, also had three hits.

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