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Suns overly generous in front of Nats' brass

June 27, 2008|By BOB PARASILITI

Curiosity killed the cat.

Generosity killed the Hagerstown Suns.

Of all the things to give away, the Suns decided to hand Delmarva extra outs Thursday, allowing the Shorebirds to build two big innings for an 11-5 victory before a crowd of 3,837 and special guests at Municipal Stadium.

The Suns were the first stop on the Austin Kearns rehabilitation tour. The Washington Nationals' right fielder spent the first of two days in Hagerstown going 0-for-2 with a walk and a run scored before being lifted for pinch hitter Mark Gildea in the seventh inning.

Seventeen members of the Washington Nationals front office, including owner Mark Lerner and team president Stan Kasten, were on hand to watch Kearns. But, by the time Kearns drew his sixth-inning walk to start a Suns rally, Delmarva had the game well in hand.

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"Any time you give a team more than three outs in an inning, you are going to get in trouble," said Suns manager Darnell Coles. "In the second inning, we gave them five outs and in the fifth inning, we gave them another five."

The Shorebirds moved to a 3-0 lead with two runs in the second inning, ignited when Suns starting pitcher Josh Smoker (0-4) threw away Jason White's roller in front of the mound.

Kieron Pope led off the inning with a single and took second on Victor Castillo's infield hit to short before scoring when Smoker threw White's grounder past first baseman Tim Pahuta. Castillo scored on a sacrifice fly by Pedro Florimon.

Delmarva blew the top off the game in the fifth, started when the Suns failed to convert on consecutive bunts by Florimon and Mark Angle. Smoker fielded both as they rolled down the first-base line, but the first-base bag was left uncovered.

After Ryan Adams walked to load the bases, Joe Nowicki hit a grand slam to right to give the Shorebirds a 7-2 lead and start a six-run inning.

Angle got Delmarva on the board in the first with a leadoff homer to right.

"They capitalized on the extra outs in the fifth inning with the grand slam," Coles said. "When they give you outs (with bunts), you got to take them. In general, you got to be able to field the ball and throw the ball and we had a couple of lapses."

The Suns managed to get within 3-2 in the second against Delmarva starter Sean Gleason. Aaron Seuss led off with a single and scored on Stephen King's RBI double. King scored on the first of three Sean Rooney hits.

Gleason faced Kearns all three times, striking him out in the first, getting him to fly to left in the third before the sixth-inning leadoff walk. He eventually scored on Rooney's bases-loaded single to cut the deficit to 9-3.

Delmarva added two runs in the eighth.

The Suns got their final two runs in the ninth on a pinch-hit home run by Josh Rogers.

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