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Suns rally to win final home game

August 29, 2010|By BOB PARASILITI

The Hagerstown Suns found out you can take different routes to get to the final destination.

And it didn't take a GPS. Just a change of attitude.

The Suns used opposite-field hitting to produce five runs in the eighth inning Saturday to come away with a 5-2 victory over the Delmarva Shorebirds in the home finale of the 2010 season, the team's 30th in Hagerstown.

Justino Cuevas highlighted the comeback with an RBI double to right to put the Suns ahead and Mills Rogers capped the rally with a two-run single to right to seal the victory.

"They just started hitting the ball the other way," said Suns manager Matt LeCroy. "You have to do that against sinkerball pitchers. If you can't do that, you can't win. Cuevas got the big one and Rogers did the same thing."

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The Suns (63-69, 27-35 second half) showed their dramatic side in the process. They built the tension, waited for the right moment to deliver the big performance and left the packed house at Municipal Stadium wanting more.

The biggest hit of the night may have been Eury Perez's leadoff single against James Brandhorst in the eighth to start the tension.

"His speed creates chaos in the game," LeCroy said. "He gets on base and can cause the pitcher to worry because he can go and steal a base and make things happen."

Perez followed his script by stealing his 57th base in 67 tries before scoring on Adrian Sanchez's RBI single to center with one out. Brandhorst followed by hitting J.P. Ramirez with a pitch before being lifted.

David Walters came on and didn't fare much better.

First, he uncorked a wild pitch to advance the runners and then allowed Brett Newsome to hit an RBI single to tie the game at 2. It left the door open for Cuevas and Rogers to finish the job.

The Suns showed patience just to get into the position in the first place. Hagerstown waited out Delmarva starter Billy Bundy and got to the Shorebirds' bullpen after he was lifted after six innings of work.

Bundy held the Suns scoreless in the stint on just four hits as he extended a scoreless streak to 15 innings. The biggest at-bat may have belonged to Perez, who battled Bundy for 10 pitches before grounding out to short to end the inning.

The flurry elevated the pitch count and got the starter out of the game a little earlier.

Delmarva took a 1-0 lead in the fourth inning off Suns starter Shane McCatty. Trent Mummey led off by reaching base when his grounder went through second baseman Adrian Sanchez's legs. After Mummey stole second, the Shorebirds used grounders by Tyler Kelly and Levi Carolus to bring in the run.

The Shorebirds doubled their lead in the fifth against Suns reliever Ben Graham. Garabez Rosa hit a two-out double down the left-field line and scored when Kyle Moore singled to center.

"McCatty did a heck of a job, coming in to start as a reliever," LeCroy said. "And then Garcia came in and threw real well. He gave the team a chance to win."

The Suns tried to take advantage of Bundy's departure and Brandhorst's entrance in the seventh but came up empty. Hagerstown had the bases loaded with one out, but Sandy Leon grounded into an inning-ending double play.

The Suns' late rally made a winner of Garcia, Hagerstown's third pitcher, who allowed one hit and struck out two in two innings. Josh Smoker set down Delmarva in order in the ninth for his third save.

The Suns closed the home portion of the season in front of a crowd of 5,730, their 16th sellout of the season. Hagerstown drew 135,799 fans in 66 dates this season.

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