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Cleveland Indians

Aeros top host Connecticut 7-2 in first game of EL finals Tuesday

By sstorm Published: September 15, 2009

Make it 12 and counting.

Consecutive wins, that is, as the Aeros continued to roll through the playoffs with a 7-2 victory in the opening game of the Eastern League Championship Series Tuesday night at Connecticut's Dodd Stadium.

The Aeros won eight consecutive games to close out the regular season then swept Reading in three games in the Southern Division Series. With the first two games of the finals in Connecticut, one might figure the Aeros' streak might be on the line.

But with offensive contributions throughout Akron's lineup and another solid outing on the mound by Josh Tomlin, the club continued its dominating run by taking an early 5-0 lead on the road.

"That what it takes when you get to this point in the season - a team effort," Aeros manager Mike Sarbaugh said. "And we've been fortunate to get it consistently from both our offense and pitching staff."

The Aeros collected five runs on nine hits against Connecticut's big lefty Ben Snyder, the younger brother of former Indians No. 1 pick Brad Snyder (18th overall in 2003).

The Aeros got on the board in the second inning with a Jose Constanza sacrifice fly that scored Carlos Rivero. Then they piled on with a pair of runs in both the third and fourth innings as Rivero and John Drennen pushed the advantage to 3-0 with RBI singles.

In the fourth, a two-run home run by Beau Mills put an abrupt end to Snyder's outing, chasing him from the mound after just 3 2/3 innings.

"Beau's home run was huge there," Sarbaugh said."It was good to see him come back with a good at-bat after struggling his first few times at the plate."

While the offense went about building the lead, Aeros starting pitcher Josh Tomlin continued his post season success. He notched his second post-season win by striking out seven through seven strong innings.

"Josh has such a good feel for pitching and attacking hitters," Sarbaugh said. "He'll make (mental) notes as he goes along of things he's seen or notices that he can use next time around the lineup."

It wasn't until the fifth inning that the Defenders managed to break up Tomlin's shutout bid, as Jackson Williams' single down the right field line scored Brandon Crawford. But with runners in scoring position at second and third bases, Tomlin rebounded to strike out the league's top hitter in Brock Bond to end the threat.

The Aeros added an insurance run in the seventh inning when Rivero scored on a play that saw the speedy Constanza reach first safely on a throwing error.

Connecticut got the run back briefly in the bottom of the frame when Eddy Martinez-Esteve cleared the home run fence with a solo shot to left field. But Akron's Matt McBride pushed the deficit back to five runs with his own solo shot in the eighth inning.

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