Aeros End Losing Streak, Win 6-3
Roberts, Rodriguez lead Akron past Harrisburg
AKRON, OH – It took a much improved team effort for the Akron Aeros to end their four-game losing streak as they defeated the Harrisburg Senators 6-3 on Wednesday night at Canal Park. The Aeros' performance showed a major improvement in both steady pitching and hitting from the night before.
Will Roberts had a very good outing Wednesday night, giving up three runs and six hits for the win. He is now 4-2 in 2013.
Manager Edwin Rodriguez was pleased with Roberts’ performance, but believes there is room for improvement.
“He (Roberts) did good tonight, he got the win," Rodriguez said. "But he’s still pitching a little bit off in the strike zone, but he was getting ahead in the count, which is good, his breaking ball was working. But it’s just about the little things, like working down in the zone.”
After quickly retiring eight of Harrisburg’s first nine batters, Steven Souza Jr. blasted a two-run home run to right field in the third inning. In his next at bat in the fifth inning, he hit an RBI double to score Brian Goodwin. Souza now has three home runs and nine RBI this season.
However, the Senators did not score after that, in part due to strong Akron pitching. After going 3-for-4 with two RBI on Tuesday, Jimmy Van Ostrand of the Senators went 0-for-4, striking out once, one of Robert’s seven strikeouts in the game.
The Aeros started out slow, but came back with strong and consistent hitting to pull out the victory.
After three quiet innings at the plate, the Aeros’ hitting came alive in the bottom of the fourth, as Ronny Rodriguez hit a two-run triple and was driven in by a single from the very next batter, Giovanny Urshela. Rodriguez and Urshela now have 21 and 14 RBI respectively.
Jose Ramirez hit a solo home run into the bullpen off of Rob Gilliam in the fifth inning to take a 4-3 lead. It was Ramirez’s second home run of the season.
He has now hit in four straight games and is 7-19 in the past four games.
Also in the Aeros’ lineup, Rodriguez went 3-for-4 and crossed home plate twice. He also had a terrific leaping catch in the top of the sixth inning for one of the Aeros’ major highlights of the game.
Rodriguez believes that his game has improved
“I see my progress and I have to keep playing, every day,” Rodriguez said.
He also saw progress from the entire team against the Senators’ starting pitcher Gilliam.
“We came in, and sometimes the coach shows us a video of that day’s pitcher," Rodriguez said. "So I was ready”
Rodriguez commented that he played with Gilliam in Potomac (an affiliate of the Washington Nationals) in 2012.
Gilliam drops to 1-1 for the season after giving up four earned runs and nine hits to an ambitious Aeros lineup.
E. Rodriguez considered Moncrief’s run to be the play of the game and it solidified the win for Akron as well.
Jose Flores came in the ninth and recorded his fifth save of the season.
Lou Marson started for the Aeros, making his first rehab assignment as part of a continued recovery from a right shoulder inflammation. He played for six innings and went 1-for-3 with a single in the third inning.
Rodriguez commented that he looked good in his first rehab start. “His hitting was good, his catching was good, it was good to see him out there.”
He continues his rehab assignment on Friday with Triple-A Columbus and hopes to return to Cleveland soon after.
Roberto Perez took over for Marson in the seventh inning and hit a single in his first at bat. He has reached base safely via a hit or walk in 17 straight games.
Overall, the Aeros struck with 14 hits against Harrisburg’s seven.
Cedric Hunter robbed Van Ostrand of a home run at the left field wall in the fourth inning, leaping for the catch but was injured on the way down. He walked off on his own, but did not return to the game.
He sustained a left shoulder injury and it is most likely that he will be placed on the disabled list.
“I think he’s going to be out for a while,” said Edwin Rodriguez. “But that’s the way he plays, he plays at 100 miles an hour, and that was a heck of a play.”
Hunter’s status is currently unknown.
He was replaced in the lineup by Quincy Latimore, who went 1-for-2 with a single.
The Aeros are now 23-30 for the season and gain a game on the Western Division-leading Erie SeaWolves, who they now trail by nine games. The Senators drop to 27-26, as their four game winning streak was broken.
The Aeros look to win the series against Harrisburg and start a new winning streak as they finish with the Senators on Thursday night at Canal Park. Matt Packer, who was named the Indians Minor League Player of the Week on Wednesday, is scheduled to take the mound for the Aeros against Blake Treinen of Harrisburg.
The first pitch is set for 7:05 p.m.