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BlueClaws return the favor to Suns

July 08, 2006|by BOB PARASILITI

The Hagerstown Suns found out it is better to give than receive on Friday.

And forget about any ideas about a return policy.

Lakewood starter Matt Maloney evened the score on Hagerstown, pitching eight scoreless innings to guide the BlueClaws to an 8-3 victory at Municipal Stadium.

Maloney's outing forced the Suns to endure the pain that pitcher Bobby Parnell had dealt to the BlueClaws in a 8-2 win on Thursday. In this case, imitation wasn't flattery, it was flattening.

The BlueClaws (48-37, 11-5) took a 2-0 lead against Suns starter Deolis Guerra before heaping on six runs in the late innings to blow the game open. Jeremy Slayden led the way with two hits and four RBI, all coming in the final three innings.

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"You just have to tip your cap to Maloney," Hagerstown manager Frank Cacciatore said. "He was able to get multiple pitches in the zone and did a number on us. It was similar to the job Parnell did on them yesterday."

Maloney's ability to change speeds had the Suns anxious and hitting off their front feet for most of the night. With little power in its swings, Hagerstown hit into a number of week outs as Maloney carried a no-hitter into the sixth inning.

In contrast, Parnell sewed up Lakewood with his ability to stay in the strike zone Thursday. The BlueClaws managed two runs - both in the seventh - on five hits, three of which were the infield variety.

"When a pitcher is throwing like that, there aren't going to be a lot of runs scored," Cacciatore said. "When a pitcher is able to work both sides of the plate like that, they even have trouble hitting that in the majors."

Maloney (9-5) allowed three hits and four walks while striking out six to keep Hagerstown off the scoreboard. He lowered his ERA to 1.61.

The Suns got to reliever Pat Overholt in the ninth on the strength of Drew Butera's three-run homer.

Hagerstown (35-50, 7-8) tried to take the same patient approach that unnerved Carlos Carrasco on Thursday, but Maloney's ability to stay ahead in the count forced the Suns to take another, unsuccessful approach.

"When a pitcher throws like that, you have to defend yourself up there," Cacciatore said. "If you are too patient, you end up in an 0-2 hole and are in a bad situation. Everything goes back to the tone the pitcher sets on the mound. Parnell did the same thing last night."

Guerra (3-4) matched Maloney through the first three innings, but got nicked in the fourth and began to struggle.

John Urick ripped a one-out single to center and Clay Harris walked before Guerra fired a pickoff throw to second into center field to advance the runners.

Lou Marson, who had only three hits in his previous 20 at-bats, delivered a two-out single to right center to cash in the runs.

"Guerra did a good job keeping us in the game," Cacciatore said. "They scored the runs late in the game that didn't put it out of reach, but made it a lot tougher to come back."

The BlueClaws added a run in the sixth off reliever Jim Wladyka on Welinson Baez's single. Three more runs came in the seventh - two against Wladyka and the third off Eric Domangue - to up the lead to 6-0. Clay Harris hit a sacrifice fly and Slayden added a two-run single to key the rally.

Slayden's two-run single off German Marte in the ninth turned it into an 8-0 advantage.

Overholt started the ninth by allowing leadoff singles to Nick Evans and Leivi Ventura. Both runners advanced on Jesus Gamero's groundout before Butera lined his fifth homer over the right-field fence to break the shutout.

"I liked the way we came back in the ninth," Cacciatore said. "It was bam, bam and then Butera hits the homer. We stayed aggressive in there to the end ... the game ended on (Jose Castro's) line drive to the pitcher, so that means we were swinging. It was just that pitching controls the game."

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