The weather can’t be blamed for the Aeros quiet bats early in Saturday’s 7-5 loss, their third consecutive to visiting Binghamton in this season-opening homestand.
Not with temperatures during the sunny afternoon game creeping up into the 50’s. It may not have been the balmy 80-degrees of spring training in Arizona, but some 20 degrees warmer than the first two 30-something degree games the previous two nights.
Still, the Aeros’ bats didn’t wake from their season-opening slumber until the seventh inning (and by then it proved to be a bit too late), when the host posted a three-run rally that pulled them within two runs.
But the Aeros bullpen wasn’t able to hold the Mets pat after starter Matt Packer had already spotted the visitors a five-run lead before exiting after facing three batters in the fifth inning.
The defending Eastern League Champions are now 0-3 to start the season, which hasn’t happened since their first season at Canal Park back in 1997.
A bright spot on the day was the play of Aeros catcher and Cleveland native Alex Lavisky, who was making his first Double-A start. The St. Ed’s product who was the Tribe’s eighth-round draft pick in 2010, went 1-for-3 with a walk and was solid behiund the plate defensively.
The Mets struck first with a three-run fourth inning against Packer, who struggled to keep his pitches low in the brief outing. Cory Vaughn caught a Packer offering up in the zone for a triple that scored Josh Rodriguez, then Daniel Muno hit another pitch right on the screws for a double that scored Rodriguez.
The Mets, whose hitters look to be in mid-season form, weren’t done, as designated hitter Blake Forsythe drove in another run in the four-hit inning before Packer rebounded to get Francisco Pena to fly out and end the offensive barrage.
Packer came back out to start the fifth inning, but after allowing a double that led to another run, his 2013 debut was done, the left-hander giving up five runs (4 earned) on 9 hits in 4 2/3 innings.
Meanwhile, Mets starting pitcher Logan Verrett was cruising. He’d retired 12 consecutive batters after Chun Chen’s second-inning single before Lavisky halted the streak in the sixth inning by lacing a double off the center field wall for his first Double-A hit.
In the next inning, Lavisky paired with second baseman Jose Ramirez to tag out Binghamton’s Wifredo Tovar in a play at the plate, keeping Bingahamton from increasing its five-run lead – momentarily, as least.
With the Aeros defense holding the Mets pat, their offense finally began to wake from its two-and-a-half game slumber. The Aeros batsmen chased Verrett from the game with a season high three-run seventh inning highlighted by first baseman Jesus Aguilar’s two-run home run to right field.
Aguilar’s blast pulled Akron to within three runs of Binghamton before shortstop Ronny Rodriguez followed with a RBI-single that scored Chen as the Aeros inched to within 5-3.
But the Mets tacked on two eight-inning insurance runs gainst Aeros reliever Eric Berger, which proved all the more important when the Aeros produced a ninth-inning rally that featured left fielder Quincy Latimore’s two-run home run. But Mets releiver Adrian Rosario resettled down and promptly sat down the next three Akron hitters to halt the rally and secure the win.