Aeros come from behind to beat Senators, 5-4
Akron, OH – The Aeros opened their three game homestand against the Harrisburg Senators with a 5-4 comeback win Monday night at Canal Park behind a big sixth inning and some quality relief pitching from the bullpen.
The Aeros (56-39) won for the fourth straight time, and increased their lead over the second-place Senators to seven games in the EL West. Harrisburg lost their third consecutive game.
The Senators started the scoring in the third inning after an RBI from Tim Pahuta put Harrisburg on the board. They followed with an RBI single from Zach Waiters and an RBI double by Destin Hood to go ahead 3-0.
The Aeros came storming back in the sixth against Senators starter Trevor Holder (0-2) to take the lead 4-3, plating their first run when Jordan Henry scored on an RBI triple by center fielder Tyler Holt. Matt Lawson responded with another RBI triple that scored Holt, and Nick Weglarz followed with an RBI single to tie the game 3-3. Thomas Neal grounded into a force out, but advanced to second on a throwing error by Harrisburg second baseman Jose Lozada.
The error proved to be crucial in extending the inning and the lead for the Aeros, as Juan Diaz hit an RBI ground rule double in the next at bat, scoring Neal and giving the Aeros the lead. It was Diaz’ 40th RBI on the season.
“[Holder] had been throwing well, we had kind of been struggling with some at bats and missed a couple pitches,” said Aeros manager Chris Tremie. “The turning point for that inning was Holt’s triple down the line, followed up by Weglarz with a base hit, and on down the line. Diaz doubled, that led to us scoring and taking the lead, and I think it kind of snowballed from there.”
Akron scored a key, unearned run in the eighth, taking advantage of two Harrisburg errors, to take a 5-3 lead. The Senators pulled to within 5-4, in the eighth when righthander Jose De La Torre issued a pair of walks and surrendered an RBI single to Eury Perez.
Akron starting pitcher Paulo Espino went 5 1/3 innings, giving up nine hits, striking out three, and giving up three earned runs, all in the third inning. Despite the tough third, Espino allowed the Aeros to stay close and within striking distance, and after taking the lead, the Aeros relief pitching shut the door on any hopes of a Senator’s comeback.
After turning the one-run lead over to closer Preston Guilmet in the ninth, Senators left fielder Jim Van Ostrand led off with a double, but Guilmet struck out three consecutive hitters to notch his 14th save.
Indians reliever Rafeal Perez continued his rehab assignment with the Aeros, coming on in relief for Kyle Landis (5-3) in the seventh and giving up one hit and no runs.
“Espino went out there and kept us in the game and did a nice job in his outing, and Landis coming in to finish off [the sixth] inning was a big key,” Tremie said. “Perez pitching the seventh did a nice job; he kept the ball down and pitched some good changeups, then finishing it up by De La Torre and Guilmet closing it out. A lot of pitchers and a lot of good things.”
The Aeros and Senators (49-46) will play the middle game of the series on Tuesday night at 7:05. RHP Ryan Tatusko (2-2, 4.06) will start for Harrisburg against LHP T.J. House (5-2, 4.07) of the Aeros.