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Mendez seals Suns' win with Brown out

August 05, 2013|By BOB PARASILITI | bobp@herald-mail.com
  • Philadelphia Phillies Domonic Brown races to first base for a single duirng the fifth inning against Suns. Brown is on rehab playing with the Lakewood Blueclaws
Ric Dugan /

HAGERSTOWN — The moment might have been lost on Gilberto Mendez.

There was the Hagerstown closer, standing on the mound with bases loaded and two outs with a four-run lead. Domonic Brown, the rehabbing Philadelphia Phillies outfielder, headed to the plate with a chance to tie the game with one swing.

Well, so much for drama.

Mendez got Brown to ground to second to end the game, allowing the Hagerstown Suns to finish off a come-from-behind 8-4 victory over Lakewood on Monday at Municipal Stadium. Mendez’s seventh save was run of the mill.

“That is indicative of the way Mendez has pitched for since he got here,” said Suns manager Tripp Keister. “When he got here late in the first half, he pitched some of the biggest innings we had all season. He probably got out there and never even thought about that he was facing an All-Star from the Phillies.”

Brown went 3-for-5 for the night — including a third-inning home run — with two RBIs in the first game of his rehabilitation from a head injury. The fact that he even got up in the ninth was rather improbable.

“It was funny,” Keister said. “I knew he was coming around the corner. I started counting runs and looking at who was coming up. I didn’t think we would reach him. It was a good way to finish, though.”

Suns reliever Christian Meza got the first out of the inning before allowing a double to Christian Tocci that landed out of the reach of diving center fielder Wes Schill. Meza then walked the bases loaded.

Mendez came in and struck out Angelo Mora and ended the game on Brown’s grounder on a 0-1 count.

As it turned out, it may have been the easiest part of the night for the Suns (65-46, 27-17).

Hagerstown fell behind 3-0 and 4-3 before through first 2 1/2 innings as starter Pedro Encarnacion (8-7) had a shaky start.

After Brown’s homer to right in the third, Suns pitching took over.

“We talked to Pedro during the game,” Keister said. “It could have got away from him. I was proud of the way he completed his outing.”

The Suns helped by tying the game in the third as Shawn Pleffner led off with a double to left-center before coming around to score on consecutive groundouts by Ramos and McQuillan against Lakewood starter Miguel Nunez (8-8) to knot the game at 4.

The Suns took their first lead of the game in the fifth when Wander Ramos and Mike McQuillan hit back-to-back doubles down the left-field line for a 5-4 lead.

Hagerstown pulled away with three runs in the seventh off Lakewood reliever Kevin Walter, starting as Tony Renda led off with a single and took second on a passed ball before scoring on Pleffner’s double to left-center. Ramos followed by grounding an RBI single up the middle. Ramos took third on Walter’s errant pickoff throw and scored on Martinez’s bloop single to right center for the 8-4 lead.

Encarnacion pitched five innings allowing four runs on five hits and a walk, while striking out six. Bryan Harper and Meza paved the way to Mendez.

Lakewood took a 3-0 lead in the first, keyed by Brown’s RBI single and Art Charles’ RBI double.

The Suns tied the game in the bottom of the second on an RBI single by Estarlin Martinez and a two-run double by Pedro Severino.

The Suns finished with 13 hits — two each by six different players — and five doubles. Severino, Martinez and McQuillan drove in two runs each.

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