Home runs were the Aeros lone mode of scoring Monday night against visiting Erie, but they needed more than the two that supplied three runs.
Dsignated hitter Chun Chen gave the host Aeros an early lead in the first inning with a two-run home run to left field. Before him, right fielder Bo Greenwell led off with a base hit, then came around to score on Chen’s homer that gave Akron a 2-0 lead.
Left fielder Quincy Latimore joined the home run theme when he launched a solo shot in fourth inning to give the Aeros a 3-0 lead.
But the SeaWolves got on the board in the fifth inning to cut the Aeros lead to 3-1 via right fieler Luis Castillo's RBI triple. Erie’s offense then opened the floodgates, taking advantage of a Tyler Collins RBI single to left field that Latimore lost as twilight engulfed Canal Park.
The SeaWolves rallied for four runs in the sixth inning and never looked back, chasing Akron starter Will Roberts from the game. Roberts, who was in control until the rough sixth inning, took the loss. He gave up five runs on 10 hits (including a home run) in 5 2/3 innings.
The Aeros were in the midst of a seventh-inning rally when Chen was ejected after a brief, albeit heated argument with first base umpire Roberto Ortiz after he was called out 1-6-3 on a close play at first with runners at the corners and two outs.
Erie added a pair of insurance runs in the ninth inning off Aeros reliever Cole Cook, including shortstop Eugenio Suarez's first home run of the season. Catcher James McCann also added a RBI single to push the SeaWolves lead to 7-3.
Aeros shortstop Ronny Rodriguez opened the bottom of the ninth inning with a leadoff single and scored on third baseman Giovanny Urshela’s double to cut the deficit to three runs before the rally eneded.
SALAZAR HONORED – Aeros RHP Danny Salazarwas named the Eastern League Pitcher of the Week for the period of April 29th-May 5th. Salazar started just one game for Akron, but it was a standout performance. The 6-foot, 190-pounder held host Altoona scoreless through six innings while striking out 12 batters in a 4-1 Aeros victory.
Salazar was perfect through the first four innings before giving up a leadoff single in the bottom of the fifth. He also worked around a pair of walks in the sixth inning to preserve the shutout.
The 23-year old tied for the league lead in ERA (0.00) last week and was also among the weekly league leaders in batting average against (.056-2nd), WHIP (0.50-3rd), strikeouts (12-tied 3rd) and wins (1-tied 4th). Salazar, who signed with the Indians as a non-drafted free agent on July 3, 2006, leads the league with 43 strikeouts and is 2-3 with a 2.83 ERA in six starts for the Aeros.
ALL HANDS ON DECK – A Double-A team can never have to many instructors on hand during a homestand, as witnessed by the plethora of coordinators currently in town, including: minor league pitching coordinator Ruben Niebla, minor league hitting coordinator Alan Zinter and Indians special assistant to baseball operations Travis Fryman.
ROSTER MOVES - Aeros second baseman Jose Ramirez was placed on the disabled list retroactive to Sunday with a hip flexor. Taking his place on the Aeros roster is infielder Justin Toole. Toole went 1-for-5 in his first game in Akron Monday.
UP NEXT –Aeros Salazar (2-3, 2.83 ERA) is slated to face SeaWolves LHP Kyle Lobstein (3-2, 2.98 ERA) Tuesday at 7:05 p.m. at Canal Park.