Salazar strong as Aeros win 9-1
Akron, OH – The Aeros were clicking on all cylinders Friday night on both offense and defense, as the team capitalized on a stellar outing from Danny Salazar and scattered 14 hits in a dominant affair to roll past the Reading Phillies 9-1 at Canal Park.
The Aeros (74-50) won for the fourth consecutive night, and lowered the magic number for clinching the EL West crown to 11. The Phillies dropped to 66-58 on the season.
Starting pitcher Danny Salazar (2-0) was magnificent for Akron, striking out 8 batters and giving up only one run on three hits in seven innings of work. After giving up a run in the first, Salazar had his way with the Reading lineup, pitching six scoreless innings while at one point retiring 14 batters in a row. Salazar, coming back from Tommy John surgery, picked up his first win in almost two calendar years, and said he was excited after pitching so well in his start.
“This was the first time that I have gone really deep into a game since my surgery, and I felt very good out there,” said Salazar. “My slider wasn’t working very well tonight, but I commanded my fastball very well, and my changeup, too.”
Aeros manager Chris Tremie echoed Salazar’s thoughts and said he was happy with the how he pitched and the way he was able to command his pitches.
“He threw the ball well through seven innings, and he did a nice job with his fastball, especially after the first inning,” said Tremie. “He kept the ball down in the zone and threw some good off-speed pitches. It was a quality outing for him tonight.”
Kyle Landis followed Salazar to the mound and finished the game with two scoreless innings. Aeros pitching has yielded just five runs in the last four games, dropping the team ERA to a league-best 3.07.
Phillies’ center fielder Tyson Gillies opened the game with a leadoff double and scored on a Darin Ruf RBI single, which put Reading ahead 1-0. Akron responded when Thomas Neal crushed a solo home run to left field to tie the game 1-1.
After the first, the Aeros tightened the screws on their defense and opened the floodgates at the plate the rest of the night.
In the third, Akron exploded for five runs on five hits off of Reading starter Trevor May (9-11), blowing the game wide open while sending ten batters to the plate. With the bases loaded, Matt Lawson capped the outburst with a two-out, bases clearing single to give the Aeros a comfortable 6-1 lead.
The runs kept coming for Akron in the fourth when a wild pitch and a bases-loaded walk from Phillies reliever Colby Shreve tacked on another run for the Aeros. Davis Stoneburner came to the plate and delivered another clutch hit for Akron, hitting a two-out, two-run RBI double to cushion the lead to 9-1.
“The third inning was a big inning for us, setting the table and getting a big hit with the bases loaded, and then doing a good job base running and taking advantage of an error to add on a couple runs, then coming out in the next inning putting the game away.” said Tremie. “It was a big turning point in the game, and a great job by Danny after that shutting the door and not allowing them to come back.”
Akron will continue the series against the Phillies (66-59) at 7:05 PM Saturday night. RHP Ethan Martin (2-0, 1.46) will start for the R-Phils, while RHP Brett Brach (3-5, 4.68) will make the start for the Aeros.
Notes: Three Aeros players collected three hits apiece. Lawson and Stoneburner each had three hits and three RBI’s. Thomas Neal was 3-for-4.