Aguilar bomb in extras sends Aeros to 3-2 win
Harrisburg, PA — The legend of Jesus Aguilar continues to grow.
The 23-year-old native of Maracay, Venezuela, who can seem to do no wrong for the Akron Aeros this season, ripped a line-drive, solo home run into the left field stands in the top of the 10th inning Saturday night, lifting the Aeros to a thrilling, 3-2 win over the Harrisburg Senators at Metro Bank Park.
Aguilar turned on a 1-0 pitch from righthander Ryan Perry and smashed it into the cheap seats in the left field corner, 325 feet away from the plate. It was Aguilar’s 10th homer of the season, and his league-best 76th run batted in. Aguilar’s blast came just after Cedric Hunter had struck out to lead off the inning, and subsequently exchanged words with Perry (0-3) on his way to the dugout. Aguilar also had plenty of words for the Senators as he rounded the bases, but tempers flared no further.
With the lead in hand, righthander Rob Bryson took over on the mound for the Aeros and quickly dispatched the Senators in 1-2-3 fashion, two by strikeout, for his first save. It was Bryson’s first appearance since being activated from the disabled list on Wednesday.
Akron’s Enosil Tejeda (1-1) earned his first Double-A win with two scoreless innings of relief.
The Aeros (49-51) picked up their second straight win in the series, and gained a game on Bowie, who lost in 10 innings at Richmond. Akron is now just two games out of second place and a wild card playoff spot. They will try and win the series against the Senators on Sunday at 2, when the teams wrap up the four-game set.
Aguilar, an all-star first baseman whose stock in the Indians organization seems to rise with each big hit or timely RBI, is a modest 2-13 in the series, but more than made up for it with his game-winning homer against the front-running Senators.
Extra innings seemed an unlikely scenario early in the game. Matt Lawson delivered a sacrifice fly in the third to give the Aeros a 1-0 lead. Meanwhile, Aeros starter Matt Packer had a perfect game going into the fifth. After retiring the first two hitters in the fifth to run the string to 14 in a row to start the ball game, Harrisburg’s Jason Martinson cranked a solo homer to wreck the perfect game bid and tie the game 1-1.
The Aeros jumped back in front, 2-1, in the sixth against Senator’s starter Blake Treinen. Hunter doubled and eventually scored on a fielder’s choice by Tyler Holt.
Packer, who finished his outing with eight strikeouts and no walks, tired in the seventh and allowed three hits. Martinson’s triple tied the game at 2-2, and set the stage for extra innings. Packer settled for a no-decision and still hasn’t lost a game since May 13th. He leads the EL with a 2.58 ERA.
Holt was hitless, but had a stolen base to go along with his RBI. He also made a diving catch for Tejeda in the ninth, taking a hit away from Jimmy Van Ostrand. Francisco Lindor was 2-4, with a triple and stolen base. He now has five steals in his first five games with Akron. Giovanny Urshela had a three-hit night, lining three singles in four trips.
The Aeros and Senators (55-46) meet again on Sunday afternoon in the series wrap-up at 2:00. RHP Brett Brach (5-6, 4.77) will start for Akron, while Harrisburg is expected to counter with LHP Robbie Ray (2-0, 1.59).