LAKEWOOD, N.J. — Maikel Franco’s grand slam capped Lakewood’s five-run eighth-inning rally that broke a 1-1 tie as the BlueClaws snapped the Hagerstown Suns’ four-game winning streak with a 6-1 victory Friday night in the South Atlantic League.
Suns reliever Josh Smoker (0-1) entered to start the eighth and walked leadoff hitter Tim Carver. He took second on a sacrifice bunt and third on a flyout. Brock Stassi walked before Christopher Duffy’s RBI single to center scored Carver for a 2-1 BlueClaws lead.
Smoker walked Aaron Altherr to load the bases, and Franco cleared them with a shot to left for his seventh homer of the season.
The grand slam ended what had been a pitchers’ duel and made a winner of Lakewood reliever Blake Mascarello (1-0), who pitched the final 1 1/3 innings without allowing a hit or walk.
Lakewood (31-47, 5-4) opened the scoring in the second inning against Hagerstown starter Alex Meyer on Bob Stumpo’s solo home run with two outs.
BlueClaws starter Ethan Stewart took a shutout into the sixth inning before the Suns (48-30, 6-3) evened the score at 1 with an unearned run. Brian Goodwin led off with a grounder to short that was booted by Tim Carver for an error. Cutter Dykstra followed with an RBI double to right.
Meyer worked five innings for the Suns, allowing one run on five hits and two walks while striking out seven.
Stewart went six innings for the BlueClaws, allowing one unearned run on five hits and two walks while striking out four.
Philadelphia Phillies star Ryan Howard made a rehabilitation appearance for Lakewood, going 1-for-2 with a single and a strikeout before being replaced.