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Keyes, Suns lock up victory

August 16, 2011|By BOB PARASILITI | bobp@herald-mail.com

HAGERSTOWN — It might be zen, karma or just clean living, but all is right in Kevin Keyes’ world.

The Hagerstown outfielder is on a tear and good things are happening for the Suns. But truth be told, things have been happening for the Suns to help put Keyes on a tear.

Everything came together on Tuesday as Keyes had two hits and four RBIs as Hagerstown came out strong in the first third of the game to post a 10-2 victory over Lexington in the South Atlantic League. It was the Suns’ sixth straight victory, coming on Nick Adenhart Night at Municipal Stadium.

“I’m seeing the ball well and I’ve been having good at-bats,” Keyes said. “The whole team is playing well. It’s a great feeling when you get up there and feel like you don’t have to do it all when you are hitting.”

Keyes did enough. He hit a three-run home run to cap the Suns’ five-run first inning and added an RBI triple in the third as Hagerstown (68-52 overall, 28-22 second half) jumped out to an 8-0 lead. Keyes is on a five-game hitting streak, going 11-for-19 (.579) with two homers and eight RBIs to raise his average to .271.

He did his job because the rest of the Suns did theirs, especially in the first inning.

Chris Curran led off with a walk against Lexington starter Mike Foltynewicz and circled the bases on Blake Kelso’s triple to right to give the Suns their first run. Adrian Sanchez hit an RBI single to right, followed by David Freitas’ base hit to set up Keyes’ three-run homer  — his 12th of the season — over the center-field wall for the early 5-0 lead.

“Curran give us a great at-bat and got the walk and Kelso’s triple was huge,” said Suns manager Brian Daubach. “And then the way Kevin has been swinging the bat ... he hammered it.”

All the hits made up for Hagerstown’s defensive sins. The Suns committed five errors and still managed to win the game handily.

“Our first two guys in the order, no matter who they have been, have been big for us all year,” Keyes said. “It hasn’t mattered it has been Kelso, CC (Curran) and Sangie (Sanchez), they get it going and make it easy for the guys who drive in the runs.”

The win moved the Suns within two games of Kanapolis in the second half chase in the Northern Division. The Suns start a critical four-game series in Kannapolis on Thursday.

Lost in the shuffle was Robbie Ray’s start for the Suns. He lasted just three innings, but left without allowing a run on one hit. Sam Brown pitched an inning before Chris McKenzie (4-4) took the mound for the second time since July 23 for 2 2/3 innings to earn the win.

“It was good to see Robbie Ray out there again,” Daubach said. “We gave him some extra rest and he went out and looked like the old Ray. McKenzie did a great job after having a blister problem.”

Justino Cuevas gave Hagerstown a 6-0 lead when he led off with a drive to left that went off left fielder Ruben Sosa’s glove and over the fence for a home run.

The Suns chased Foltynewicz in the third as Freitas led off with a double off the center-field wall followed by a triple by Keyes to left center. Jason Martinson ended the Legends starter’s night with a sacrifice fly to center for an 8-0 lead.

Lexington broke through for two unearned runs in the seventh off reliever Chris McKenzie. Sosa led off by reaching on a fielding error by Sanchez at second and scored on Delino DeShields Jr.’s double to left. DeShields took third on a throwing error by Martinson and scored on Ben Orloff’s grounder to short to tighten the game to 8-2.

Martinson finished his two-hit, three-RBI night with his 15th homer of the season, a two-run shot in the eighth off Juan Minaya to cap the Suns’ scoring.

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