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Martinson sparks Suns to a victory

June 27, 2011|By BOB PARASILITI | bobp@herald-mail.com

HAGERSTOWN — It was Chien-Ming Wang’s show, but Jason Martinson earned the nod for a best supporting award.

All eyes were on Wang as he pitched for his first time in a Washington Nationals-affiliated uniform and the first time competitively in two years. He didn’t disappoint.

But neither did the Hagerstown Suns shortstop. Martinson had three hits and scored three times to ignite the Suns to a 5-2 victory over Lakewood on Thursday in their home opener of the second half.

Lakewood starter David Buchanan tried to throw the Suns a curve with his approach. Martinson crossed him up by hitting it.

“I was picking the ball up out of his hand,” said Martinson, who doubled and singled before hitting a solo home run in the sixth. “We knew that he liked to throw a curve at any count. I wasn’t sitting on the curve, but I expected it. I got my first two hits off curves.”

Martinson was the catalyst for the Suns as he attacked his No. 6 spot in the lineup with a leadoff mentality. His double in the second started a two-run rally for a 3-1 lead. He singled and scored in the fourth on Michael Taylor’s single to give the Suns a 4-2 lead before closing the scoring with his homer in the sixth.

“Sometimes that’s the way it goes with the lineup,” said Suns manager Brian Daubach. “He can hit anywhere in the lineup so it wasn’t uncomfortable for him.”

Martinson helped the Suns score four of their five runs out of the bottom half of the order. Wang, meanwhile, set up Hagerstown’s pitching with three quality innings.

Wang, who pitched in his first game since taking the mound for the New York Yankees on July 4, 2009, started slowly but got stronger through his stint. Wang, who was working through a shoulder injury, signed with the Nationals in 2010 but has not been active in his 1 1/2 years with the team.

“I’m very happy,” Wang said through a translator. “It’s been a long time.”

Wang allowed two runs on four hits while striking out three before giving way to A.J. Cole in the fourth.

“He did what was planned,” said Daubach. “It was a solid outing. There was a point where he slowed down and he started to get the sink on his pitches like the guy I remember.”

Lakewood took a 1-0 lead in the first, getting to Wang with hits of the flare variety. Edgar Duran reached on an infield single behind second base and stole second before Zach Collier blooped a single to left.

The Suns tied the score in the bottom of the inning on Adrian Sanchez’s one-out triple and Blake Kelso’s single to center. They made it 3-1 in the second on doubles by Martinson and Kevin Keyes and Sean Nicol’s RBI single.

Martinson and the Suns added the insurance runs as Cole fired five innings of two-hit relief with six strikeouts before giving way to Chris Manno in the ninth.

“That was probably the best Cole has been all year,” Daubach said. “He had good velocity and was practically unhittable.”

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