Game Recaps: Tuesday 8/4
It was a dramatic opening of a three-game series between the two top teams in the Eastern League, but the Northern Division-leading Connecticut Defenders got the better of the Aeros by the final score of 4-3 Tuesday night at Canal Park with 3,867 fans in attendance. The loss snapped a season-high seven-game winning streak for Akron, as Connecticut escaped a bases-loaded threat in the bottom of the ninth. The Aeros dropped to 68-42 with the loss but maintained their seven-game lead in the Southern Division, while Connecticut improved to 64-45.
The Defenders got on the board in the first inning against rehabbing Cleveland starter Jake Westbrook, as Mike McBryde reached base on a strikeout/wild pitch combination, and slugger Brett Pill drove him home with a two-run shot down the left field line. Westbrook would go on to throw 32 pitches in the first inning alone, and departed after allowing two runs and four hits in two innings.
The 2-0 margin would not hold for long, as Akron struck back in the bottom of the third. Consecutive one-out walks to Jose Constanza and Jesus Merchan began the rally against Defenders starter (and former Idaho Falls Padre) Geivy Garcia, and Carlos Santana then extended his hitting streak to a season-high 12 games with a two-out RBI single to make it 2-1. Connecticut would bring the lead back to two runs in the fourth on a leadoff home run from Brandon Crawford, although Aeros reliever Connor Graham was able to strand the bases loaded later in the inning. The Defenders then got on the board again in the fifth, as Eddy Martinez-Esteve and Adam Witter drew walks before Bobby Felmy recorded his third hit of the night with an RBI single to make it 4-1.
The Aeros then made things interesting against the Defenders bullpen in the late going, as Constanza drew a two-out walk in the seventh, advanced to third on successive wild pitches by Connecticut reliever Dan Griffin, and scored when Jesus Merchan flared an RBI singled down the right field line to make it a 4-2 game. Akron struck yet again in the bottom of the ninth, as Carlos Rivero kicked things off with a double and moved to third on a fly out by Jared Goedert. Constanza then made it 4-3 with an RBI groundout to short for the second out, but third baseman Brad Boyer kept the Aeros alive when he threw away Merchan