ROCHESTER, N.Y. HAGERSTOWN SUNS — Providing relief means rare start for Jones
ROCHESTER, N.Y. -- Red Wings relief pitcher Stacy Jones responded to the demands of the last days of the season this week, making a minor-league start for the first time in two years.
Jones gave up a respectable seven hits and four runs in a 4-3 loss to the Syracuse Chiefs. He allowed the well-traveled Cory Snyder to prove he still can hit home runs at the Triple A level. Snyder hit two for the Chiefs in the Sunday game.
Jones slipped to a 4-4 record with a 3.38 ERA.
Infielder Tommy Shields also responded, pitching the final inning of a 15-2 loss Tuesday to the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Red Barons. He gave up only one hit.
Paul Kilgus bumped up his ERA to 5.88 in 33 innings with the Wings when he allowed 11 hits and eight runs in the loss to the Red Barons. Former Oriole Floyd Rayford had two doubles and four RBIs for the Barons.
New Wings pitcher Richie Lewis impressed in his first outing since coming to Rochester from Indianapolis for pitcher Chris Meyers. In a 2-1 win over Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Monday, Lewis gave up five hits and notched eight strikeouts in seven innings.
A 16-game hitting streak ended for Wings infielder Benny DiStefano last night when he took himself out after only one at-bat.
DiStefano, who was the International League Player of the Week last week, entered last night's game batting .261 with 106 hits. He is tied for third in the International League with 17 home runs and is second in RBIs with 79.
Suspended Wings outfielder Luis Mercedes still holds second place in the race for the International League batting title with a .334 average. He is being pursued by former Oriole Rick Schu of the Red Barons, who has a .321 average. Derek Ball of Syracuse tops the league with a .345 average.
The 9-5 loss to the Red Barons last night was a rare one for the Wings, who are 40-27 at home. The Wings have a road record of 30-40. HAGERSTOWN -- One of the remarkable things about Suns pitcher Pat Leinen is his control. He hasn't allowed more than two walks in a game since June 7, a period covering 13 starts. The 23-year-old lefthander (10-6) beat Albany Tuesday for his seventh straight victory.
Righthander Mike Oquist (9-9) has won his last five decisions. On two occasions last week, he went into the ninth inning with a shutout.
Ken Shamburg last week became the first Suns player this year to hit home runs in back-to-back games at home. He had a string of six games with at least one RBI that ended Tuesday.
Paul Carey, who leads the team with 12 home runs, hit a pair of three-run shots, one a two-strike, two-out job that tied a game with London. The Suns won in the 10th, 8-7.
The Suns will play Albany in the Eastern League playoffs next Tuesday and Wednesday, probably on the road. The best-of-five series would continue here a week from today.
FREDERICK -- Righthander Mark Carper (3-7), a former Atholton High star, had been struggling most of the season until his last two starts. He was strong in a 1-0 loss to Lynchburg (six hits and a run in eight innings) and beat Salem, 4-2, allowing two runs and six hits in seven innings.
In his two games since being recalled from Kane County, Mike Hebb, who once pitched for Glen Burnie High and Anne Arundel Community College, has given up just three hits and one run.
Pitcher Allen Plaster was summoned from Sarasota to replace Erik Schullstrom, who was recalled by Hagerstown. Schullstrom, the Orioles' No. 2 pick in the 1990 draft, pitched a no-hitter for the Keys last month.
Until going 0-for-5 Tuesday, outfielder Damon Buford had a .390 average in 12 games, a 24-for-49 spree that included four triples. Shortstop Manny Alexander is hitting .423 in his last 13 games. First baseman Brent Miller ended an 0-for-25 slump during which his average dropped from the .350s to .276 with a single and a home run Monday.
Eliminated from playoff consideration, the Keys will play their final five games, all at home, tonight and tomorrow night against Lynchburg and Saturday, Sunday and Monday against Prince William.