'Claws drop Suns in 2nd-half opener

June 21, 2012|By BOB PARASILITI |

HAGERSTOWN — Like New Year’s Eve, the second half of a minor league baseball season is a clean slate.

Everyone starts the middle of June at 0-0 and the Hagerstown Suns and Lakewood BlueClaws switched places … at least for one day.

Christopher Duffy had three hits and two RBIs and Lakewood used a three-run fourth inning to build a 5-3 victory over the Suns to open the second half of the South Atlantic League season before 1,632 fans at Municipal Stadium.

The BlueClaws got on top early and didn’t let the Suns off the mat behind starter Ervis Manzanillo (1-5), who won his first game of the season. Manzanillo pitched six innings, allowing one run on three hits while striking out five.

The victory was a change of fortunes for the BlueClaws, who were 26-43, including 8-25 on the road, in the first half. The loss was Hagerstown’s third straight overall.

The BlueClaws got the second half off with an early bang as Alejandro Villalobos hit the second pitch of the game off Hagerstown starter Kylin Turnbull (2-4) over the left-field fence for a 1-0 lead.

After the leadoff home run, Turnbull retired the next 10 batters he faced until reaching one out in the fourth.

Lakewood exploded for three runs in the fourth for a 4-0 lead, but it could have been worse.

Kelly Dugan ended Turnbull’s streak by lining a single to center and scored from first when Duffy followed by lining a double off the center-field wall.

After Aaron Altherr drew a four-pitch walk, Maikel Franco rolled a double down the left-field line that would have cleared the bases. Lakewood had to settle for one run as the ball rolled under the fence for a ground-rule double, leaving runners on second and third.

Josh Ludy, in his debut for the Philadelphia Phillies organization after being drafted in the eighth round of the 2012 draft, hit a sacrifice fly to right to score Altherr for the four-run lead.

The Suns (42-28, 0-1) got a run back in the bottom of the fourth as Cutter Dykstra hit a one-out single and stole second before Steven Souza Jr.’s two-out RBI single to center against Manzanillo to cut the deficit to 4-1.

The rally ended Manzanillo’s identical run of retiring 10 straight Suns hitters after Brian Goodwin led off the game with a double.

The BlueClaws got the run back in the fifth as Carlos Perdomo hit a one-out single to right and took second on a wild pitch before scoring on Duffy’s two-out, ground-rule double to right.

Turnbull pitched five innings, allowing five runs on six hits, while walking two and striking out two.

Hagerstown got back into the game with two runs in the seventh to get within 5-3.

Justin Miller started the rally with a one-out single to right against Lakewood reliever Colton Murray.

See SUNS, B6

Murray added a hand to the Suns’ efforts when he fielded Hendry Jimenez’s grounder to the mound and fired a high throw to allow both runners to reach safely and ruin a double play chance.

After a wild pitch, the Suns cashed in with a Cole Leonida single and a Bryce Ortega grounder to score the runs.

Ken Giles pitched the last two innings for Lakewood, recording three strikeouts, to get his second save.

The Suns had a slightly different look as shortstop as Justin Martinson was promoted to Potomac to start the second half. Martinson was one of Hagerstown’s catalysts in the first half as he was tied for the SAL lead with 63 RBIs. Ortega took over at short after missing six weeks with a broken hand.

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