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Parnell lit up as Suns lose

July 29, 2006|by BOB PARASILITI

It was a rough and tumble day for the Hagerstown Suns on Friday.

Starting pitcher Bobby Parnell had it rough and the Suns took a tumble.

Parnell had a tough go of it from the onset, allowing Asheville all its runs in the first three innings, and the Tourists made it stand up for a 5-3 victory before 2,531 fans at Municipal Stadium.

It was almost a fitting way to go for Parnell on a fireworks night. He played with fire, lit the fuse and everything eventually blew up.

"Bobby had a hard time coming out of the gate," said Suns manager Frank Cacciatore. "It was just a rough night. He had a hard time in the first inning, they got to him in the second and he had more trouble in the third. And by then, he had thrown a lot of pitches. ... Those things happen."

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Parnell (5-7) allowed five runs on six hits and walked four while never being able to find a comfort zone on the mound. He allowed four runs in the second and a fifth in the third - all after two were out.

Despite it all, the Suns had the early lead against Asheville starter Alan Johnson (10-4) and still had every chance to tie the game in the ninth, but fell short to drop their second straight after winning seven in a row.

Parnell walked Dexter Fowler and Eric Young, a pair which have combined for 100 stolen bases for the season, to open the game. He got out of a precarious inning unscathed, though, as catcher Rafael Arroyo threw out Fowler trying to steal before Parnell got Cole Garner to ground into a double play to strand Young at third.

The Suns fared much better in the first. Fernando Martinez drew a leadoff walk, took second on Will Vogl's single and scored on Jesus Gamero's single. It was Gamero's 11th RBI in four games.

Leivi Ventura hit a sacrifice fly to right to score Vogl, who crossed the plate before right fielder Dan Carte threw out Gamero at third for a double play.

The lead was short-lived as Parnell continued to struggle.

He issued a one-out walk to Carte and a single to Chris Cook before Nelson Robledo loaded the bases with a two-out infield single.

Fowler tied the game with a two-run single to left and Young ripped a two-run double down the right-field line for a 4-1 lead.

Asheville made it 5-2 in the third when Jason Van Kooten drew a one-out walk, took second on a wild pitch and moved to third on Carte's grounder to first before Cook's RBI single.

"Bobby had trouble with his command," Cacciatore said.

Johnson settled down to handcuff the Suns, while Hagerstown turned to German Marte in a long-relief role to keep the game close.

Marte fired five innings of one-hit ball while striking out six to keep the Suns in contention, even though they didn't cause too much of a ruckus.

"Marte did a tremendous job," Cacciatore said. "We got down 5-2 and were trying to get the momentum back. He came in and stopped the game so we had all the opportunities to get back into it."

But Johnson retired 12 of the next 14 Suns he faced to take control. Hagerstown threatened in the sixth and seventh to no avail.

Johnson went seven innings, allowing two runs on four hits while striking out three.

"He got command of all three of his pitches," Cacciatore said. "He didn't wow you, but he spotted the ball effectively."

The Suns tried to take the game back in the ninth against closer Andrew Johnson. Arroyo was hit by a pitch with one out, took second on a grounder and scored on pinch hitter Jonel Pacheco's single. Martinez followed as the tying run at the plate, but grounded out to end the game.

"There weren't any opportunities, but we battled to the end," Cacciatore said. "We had the chance to tie the game and they got a guy I wouldn't want to face in the situation out to end the game."

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