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Davis' two homers help Suns snap skid

July 21, 2007|By BOB PARASILITI

Leonard Davis' remedy for a slump ended up being as simple as 1-2-3.

Hit a solo home run. Make a diving stop at third base to prevent two runs from scoring. Finish it off with a three-run home run.

Davis became accountable in a 1 1/2-inning span Friday with the two homers and four RBIs to lift the Hagerstown Suns out of their collective funk and to a 7-1 victory over Lexington to end a four-game losing streak.

"We have been hitting the ball hard but it's been at people," Davis said. "We have a lot of people - a lot of good hitters - that are slumping. We came out of it a bit. We only had four hits, but three of them were home runs."

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All was quiet around Municipal Stadium, with the score 1-1 until the bottom of the seventh. It was almost to the point where there was snoring ... and if it wasn't in the stands, it was from the slumbering lumber in the Suns' hands.

Until the seventh, Hagerstown had collected only five hits in 21 innings since Patrick Nichols' double in the sixth inning on Wednesday.

But the resounding "CRACK" of Davis' bat to open the seventh seemed to jolt the Suns' offense into consciousness. Davis turned on Lexington starter Buddy Norris' second pitch of the inning and launched it over the right-field wall for a 2-1 lead.

"It was a really timely hit," Suns manager Tommy Herr said. "At that point, we only needed to get six outs to get the win. Then we got another big shot from (Francisco) Plasencia. It felt good to have a three-run lead ... and then we got three more in the eighth."

The Suns chased Norris (0-4) as Joe Napoli drew a walk before Plasencia hit his two-run homer to right center for a 4-1 lead, all coming on just three Hagerstown hits.

Lexington tried to come back in the eighth against reliever Erik Arnesen (4-5), who hit Brandon Caipen and allowed a single to Eric Taylor before being lifted for Chris Lugo.

Lugo got Tim Torres to ground to first, with the runners advancing to second and third.

Jordan Parraz followed with a shot down the third-base line that looked to be ticketed for a two-run double in the corner.

But Davis laid out with a diving stop and threw to first for the out while holding the runners. Koby Clemens grounded out to end the threat.

"That was bigger than the home run," Davis said. "I have been struggling with my defense and that picked me up. It gave me more confidence."

The play had an equal impact to the blast, as far as Herr was concerned.

"They are all big, especially in close games," Herr said. "The runs you drive in are as important as the ones you save. He drove in one and saved two. I was happy to see him make that play. He probably wanted to make it badly after he gave them a run in the first."

Davis committed an fielding error on Caipen's grounder to lead off the game. Taylor followed with a double off starter Jhonny Nunez to give Lexington a 1-0 lead.

The Suns answered in the second when Plasencia drew a two-out walk and scored from first on Jhonatan Solano's double to the left-field corner - the Suns' first hit - to tie the game.

Davis put the finishing touches on it all quickly in the eighth. Robby Jacobsen and Marcos Cabral drew one-out walks off reliever Sergio Severino. Davis stepped in and hit Severino's first pitch - a low fastball - deep over the wall in right center for a three-run blast, his 14th of the season.

"I knew (Severino) was mad. I could see it because he didn't get the call against Marcos," Davis said. "I had a feeling I might get something soft, but he came in with a fastball."

Lugo retired the Legends in order in the ninth for his third save, closing a 2-6 homestand for the Suns. The trio of Suns pitchers allowed the one unearned run on five hits and one walk.

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