Never-say-die RubberDucks stun Curve, win 9-7
Francisco Lindor's eight inning grand slam gave Akron a 9-7 victory on Thursday.
AKRON, OH – After trailing by five runs in the seventh inning, the Akron RubberDucks rallied on the strength of Francisco Lindor’s grand slam in the eighth, and stunned the Altoona Curve with a 9-7 victory in the opener of a four-game series at Canal Park.
Lindor’s slam, the second for the RubberDucks this week, came with one out in the eighth. The RubberDucks had scored a run off lefty Jhonathan Ramos on a fielder’s choice grounder by Tyler Naquin to pull to within 7-5. Right-hander Ryan Beckman (1-2) was summoned to face Tyler Holt with runners on the corners. He immediately walked Holt to load the bases, and then served up Lindor’s long homer to the new Tiki Terrace in right field to give Akron a 9-7 lead.
It was Lindor’s third homer of the year, and third hit of the night. He raised his batting average to .298, and leads the team with 23 RBI.
While Akron was effecting the comeback victory at Canal Park, Erie slipped by second-place Richmond, 6-5. As a result, Akron’s lead in the EL West increased to 3 ½ games.
Left-hander Kyle Crockett worked around a one-out walk in the ninth to earn his fifth save of the season. He made a winner of right-hander Jordan Cooper (3-0), who struck out both hitters he faced in the eighth.
Jordan Smith went 4-for-4 for the RubberDucks (21-12). He had a double and three singles, including a key hit in during the eighth-inning comeback. Smith became the first RubberDucks hitter to collect four hits in a game. Tyler Naquin had three hits and three RBI. He smacked RBI doubles in the fifth and seventh, respectively.
Of the 15 Akron hits, seven went for extra bases. Altoona starter Adrian Sampson gave up four runs on nine hits over 6 1/3 innings.
The Curve (13-19) built a 7-2 lead, belting four homers in the game. Three came off starter Duke von Schamann, and one off right-hander Francisco Valera. The Curve’s Keon Broxton hit two of the four homers, and now has three long balls off Akron pitching this year.
The RubberDucks and Curve will play game two of the four-game series at Canal Park on Friday evening at 6:35 PM. RHP Tyler Sample (2-1, 2.57) will start for Altoona, while RHP Gabriel Arias (3-2, 3.75) will get the starting assignment for Akron. The game will be broadcast on Fox Sports 1350 AM in the Akron area, and also via www.AkronRubberDucks.com.
The Akron RubberDucks are the Double-A affiliate of the Cleveland Indians. The 2014 season is the 18th since moving to Canal Park and the first as the RubberDucks. For more information, including official team merchandise, go towww.AkronRubberDucks.com or call 330-253-5151. Fans may also follow the team on Facebook atwww.facebook.com/AkronRubberDucks and Twitter at @AkronRubberDuck.