Rain can't douse result in Keys' home opener

April 16, 1994|By Kent Baker | Kent Baker,Sun Staff Writer

FREDERICK -- The big crowd was here. The bats were out. Starter Scott Emerson was making the necessary pitches.

It all added up to a gala night at Grove Stadium for the Frederick Keys' home opener . . . until the rain struck to dampen the mood for 5,921 witnesses last night.

"You'd like for it to be clear and sunny for your home opener. Not like this," said Keys manager Mike O'Berry. "This crowd was into it and we were playing well, so everything was going good. But I'm not going to complain. A win is a win."

The Keys went ahead to stay on a third-inning home run by Eric Chavez and then added steadily to their advantage to score a 6-2 Carolina League victory over the Salem Buccaneers.

Then the downpour started, ending the game after six full innings and a 40- minute wait for a letup.

Emerson,a left-hander, was 10-9 with a 3.54 ERA at Albany (Ga.) in the South Atlantic League last summer. He is not an overpowering type, but he knows how to pitch.

"He threw well," said O'Berry. "Scott has gotten better each year."

The Buccaneers provided only one thorn to Emerson, center fielder Jon Farrell, who doubled home their first run with two out in the first inning, then homered over the left-field wall in the fourth.

Nobody else had a hit off Emerson, who was born in Baltimore and lived there for 12 years before moving to Arizona.

"I was out there battling," said Emerson, who walked three and struck out five. "I threw good pitches when I had to. But I really haven't felt comfortable yet. Not even in spring training." Emerson said last season he made seven consecutive starts when it rained "and I came to be known as the 'Rain Man.' Be aware that if I'm pitching that night, it might well rain."

The Keys (4-4) have already demonstrated that they can hit. They have socked 14 home runs, making it much easier on their pitching staff.

"It should be comforting for our guys knowing that if they throw strikes and keep us in the game, our offense is going to take care of them," said O'Berry.

"They realize they don't have to go out there thinking shutout.

Left fielder Bryan Link and third baseman Chavez have been the chief perpetrators of the attack so far.

Last night, Link tripled and doubled and smoked a line-drive out, scored his seventh run and knocked home his seventh. In addition to his homer, Chavez also singled across a run to take over the team RBI lead with 10.

The clinching two runs came in the bottom of the fifth when Salem shortstop Juan Segura had Roy Hodge's two-out pop fly carom off his glove, giving the Keys a four-run lead.

Emerson took care of the rest, except for Farrell whom he said "got good extension on a fast-ball away (for the doubled) and then homered on a changeup that went in there too fast."

"But I wasn't real worried. I know we've got a good lineup and we can always come back."

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