Oscar Alvarez (2-0) got the win for Akron by pitching 5 innings and giving up 2 runs. Javier Ortiz (1-1) took the loss after pitching just 1 inning and giving up 6 Akron runs.
Akron struck for six in the first off Ortiz who appeared to lack command early. Scott Pratt led off the game with a double to left center, that was followed by a Zack Sorensen’s line single off the glove of Robinson Cano. Franklin Gutierrez followed with a strike out. Ortiz, despite giving up six runs, would manage to strike out the side in the first. The strikeout of Gutierrez was followed by a walk of Jason Cooper. Corey Smith followed with a strike out to leave the bases loaded with two outs for Nate Grindell. Grindell followed with a single to left that scored Pratt and Sorensen. Rodney Choy Foo, who came into the game hitting just .102, followed with a triple to right center that scored Grindell and Cooper. Victor Valencia followed with a double to right center that scored Choy Foo. Ben Francisco followed with a single to right. Valencia scored when Dioner Navarro was unable to hold onto the strong throw from Mitch Jones in right. Ortiz would leave after one inning due to what Stump Merrill described as “a twinge in his hamstring.” His status was termed as day to day.
The Thunder cut the Aeros lead to 6-2 in the fifth when, after a one out single to left by JT Stotts, Teuris Olivares took a 3-2 pitch from Aeros starter Alvarez out to left for a two-run homer.
John Blankenship (1-1) restored order to the game by retiring 15 of the first 16 batters he faced. The only player to reach base in Blankenship’s first five innings was Rodney Choy Foo on an error by shortstop Teuris Olivares. Blankenship appeared to be tiring as he entered the seventh, however, and he allowed a leadoff home run to Ben Francisco. Blankenship was lifted by manager Stump Merrrill two batters later, after he walked Zach Sorensen. Blankenship gave the Thunder a very impressive 5 1/3 innings of relief behind Javier Ortiz. According to Merrill, “Blankenship gave us a chance.”
Tim Adkins came on behind Blankenship and retired only one of the six batters he faced. Two singles and three walks later and Adkins afternoon was over in favor of Joe Orloski (2-1). Orloski wasn’t much better as he retired only one of the five batters he faced. In the seventh, Akron sent 14 batters to the plate and scored 9 runs. They managed this with the benefit of only six hits in the inning, as the Thunder bullpen gave up five walks in the inning.
Andy Brown, just activated from the DL before the game, was called upon by Stump Merrill to come in and pitch the ninth for Trenton. The last time a position player was called upon to pitch it was Bo Robinson on August 23 of last year against Binghamton at Waterfront Park. Brown gave up one run on three hits in his one inning of work as Akron extended their lead to 16-2.
The Thunder made a roster move for the second consecutive day. This time they sent pitcher Jeff Kennard down to single A Tampa while infielder Andy Brown was activated from the disabled list. Brown had been on the disabled list all year for the Thunder. Last year, Brown split time between Tampa and Trenton and in 18 games for the Thunder he hit .172 with five doubles, one home run, and five runs bated in. Kennard was 0-1 in seven appearances for the Thunder this year giving nine earned runs in eight innings pitched. He also owned a 10.13 ERA and a .368 opponents batting average. In his last outing against Akron on Friday night, Kennard went one and two thirds innings allowing two earned runs and walking three. Brown went 0- for-1 with a grounder to second in his only at-bat, pinch hitting in the eighth for Jackson Melian….Aaron Rifkin got his first hit since returning to the line-up over the weekend with a hand injury. It was a single to right center in the eighth. He is 1-for 7 since returning to the lineup on Saturday…Mitch Jones, after getting a couple of nights off while Kenny Lofton was with the Thunder, returned to the lineup. He had been struggling, hitting only .197 coming into the game, and went 0-for-3 with a walk. …Trenton is third in the Eastern League with a 3.63 team ERA and fourth in the Eastern League in team batting with a .265 team average… Pitching match-ups for the New Britain series have Ramon Ramirez going against Rick Helling tomorrow, Sean Henn going against Jim Abbott on Tuesday, and Chien-ming Wang against Henry Bonilla in the series finale on Wednesday.
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