Akron falls in series finale, but still finish with good homestand
Akron, OH -- Bowie shortstop Manny Machado, one of the top prospects in baseball, homered, doubled and played slick defense Sunday, as the Baysox beat the Akron Aeros, 5-4, in the finale of a four-game series at Canal Park.
Despite the loss, Akron finished with a 5-2 record during their seven-game homestand while maintaining a 9.5 game lead in the Eastern League Western Division. The Aeros (65-43) open a three-game series at Portland on Tuesday.
Machado hit his ninth home run of the season off of Akron starter Matt Packer in the top of fourth to tie the score, 1-1. After the Aeros added two runs in the bottom of the fifth, Machado hit a RBI-double in the top of the sixth, scoring the first of three runs charged to Packer in the inning.
Machado, the third overall pick by the Baltimore Orioles in the 2010 MLB Amateur Draft, also made several spectacular plays at shortstop, including a stop in the ninth inning that cut off the game-tying run.
“He’s a good player, a very talented player with a lot of tools,” said Akron Aeros manager Chris Tremie. “A lot of potential and a very high ceiling for him. He had a good day today both with the bat and with the glove.
“If he doesn’t make [the play in the ninth inning], the game changes. He did a nice job getting to the ball.”
Packer (2-1, 2.41), making his third start with the Aeros, had thrown five innings of one-run ball until the sixth when he allowed a pair of infield singles and then a double to Machado. He left with a 3-2 lead, but with a pair of runners on base who later scored with Shawn Armstrong pitching.
“He’s thrown the ball well in all three outings,” said Tremie. “He left one pitch up to Machado, a changeup, that he hit out earlier. Overall, I thought he commanded the ball well, threw some good changeups and was good against lefties today.”
Armstrong finished the sixth allowing one hit and one walk in two-thirds of an inning. Loek van Mil and Kyle Landis combined to throw the last three innings. Van Mil allowed a seventh inning homer to Robbie Widlansky that proved to be the game’s deciding run.
Akron opened the lead in the first after designated hitter Nick Weglarz hit a run-scoring single to make the score 1-0. The Aeros held a 3-1 lead after a two-run single by Jordan Henry in the fifth, but failed to score again until the bottom of the ninth.
The Aeros scored a run in the ninth on a RBI-single by first baseman Adam Abraham to make it 5-4, but Baysox closer Kyler Newby shut out the rally to earn his eighth save of the season.
“Going into the ninth, two runs down and here we are a couple hitters later and we’ve got runners at second and third with one out and a chance,” said Tremie. “More often than not, we’ve come out on top. Today, unfortunately, we couldn’t get the fly ball or base hit to put the game away.”
In his second game back from injury, Abraham had three hits, including a pair of doubles. He now leads the Aeros with 48 RBIs.
“He had a good day, two doubles,” said Tremie. “The last one in the ninth inning, just a big hit. He helped us a lot today.”
Following an off day on Monday, the Aeros will begin a six-game road trip in Portland, Maine, on Tuesday evening at 7 p.m. against the Sea Dogs. Left-hander Giovanni Soto (6-7, 4.08) will start for the Aeros against Portland righty Jason Urquidez (1-2, 3.33).
Notes: Matt Packer walked his first batter of the season in the sixth, his first in 71 batters faced. … Juan Diaz hit a double off a left-handed pitcher in the ninth inning, but is hitting just .094 against them this season. … Announced attendance: 2,822.
Nathan Kemp graduated from The University of Akron in 2012 with a bachelor's degree in English. He plans to pursue a graduate degree through NEOMFA in the fall. Follow him on Twitter @NathanCKemp.