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All systems go for Suns and Gamero

July 25, 2006|by BOB PARASILITI

It took a couple of red lights to give Jesus Gamero the green one.

And that made the Hagerstown Suns go, with a pileup at home plate.

Gamero, who was a late addition to the lineup when Joan Martinez was stuck in traffic en route to the game, went 4-for-4 with four RBI Monday to help pace the Suns to their fifth-straight victory, a 13-1 drubbing of Kannapolis.

The Suns outfielder was notified he would be stepping into the designated hitter role just after batting practice on what would have been a night off. Martinez was headed back from a day off in New York and was stuck in traffic along with hitting coach Luis Natera.

"I was put in the game in the last minute," Gamero said. "It wasn't much of a change. I was getting in the game and I wanted to be aggressive. I went inside (the clubhouse) and just started concentrating to get ready."

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It became rough for the Intimidators as all of the Suns came out ready. All 10 hitters for the Suns - the starters plus Martinez who was inserted at catcher in the eighth inning - shared the 16 hits.

The Suns scored in six of eight innings to support starter Deolis Guerra and relievers Eric Domangue and Wilmer Mateo.

Gamero drove in what became the winning run with a double down the left-field line in the two-run second, drilled a solo home run well over the left-field wall in the fourth, had a sacrifice foul out to score a run in the Suns' four-run sixth and finished with a pair of singles, the last to drive in Hagerstown's final run in the two-run eighth.

"Late scratch," Suns manager Frank Cacciatore said, with a huge smile. "It was just a travel thing ... That was the farthest I've seen a ball hit to left field this year."

It looked like the Suns and Guerro were going to be an early scratch at the start.

Guerro (4-6) allowed three straight singles to open the first and looked to be on the ropes. His fortunes changed when he got Francisco Hernandez to hit into a double play, which plated Paulo Orlando with the Intimidators' only run.

"The key to the whole game was that double play," Cacciatore said. "Guerro was scuffling and was knocked on his heels while they looked like they were going to put a crooked number on the board. The double play minimized it and with one pitch, momentum was on our side."

Momentum turned into rush hour for the Suns as they took the Intimidators' pitching staff, led by starter Derek Rodriguez, for a ride.

The Suns took a 2-1 lead in the second as Leivi Ventura hit a one-out triple off the center-field wall and score on Jose Castro's single. Castro came around on Gamero's double down the line, aggressively rounding third and beating a wide throw to the plate.

Nick Evans hit a two-run double in the third for a 4-1 lead before Gamero's homer in the fourth. The Suns chased Rodriguez in the sixth with four runs, highlighted by Will Vogl's two-run single.

Armand Gaerlan's sacrifice fly and Fernando Martinez's chop single over a drawn-in infield plated two runs in the seventh before Joan Martinez and Gamero capped the scoring in the eighth.

"Obviously, it's great to win five in a row," Cacciatore said. "Now we are out to continue to do things right every day."

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