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Cleveland Indians

Aeros top Defenders 4-3 in extras; Berger joins team

By sstorm Published: August 5, 2009

AKRON AEROS 4, CONNECTICUT DEFENDERS 3 - in 10 innings.

KEY STATS: Aeros catcher Carlos Santana increased his career-high hitting streak to 13 games Wednesday with a first-inning base hit into shallow right field. He entered the night's action batting .429 with four doubles, four home runs, eight walks, 15 RBI and 10 runs scored over that stretch...Aeros pitchers issued an uncharacteristic six walks in the game.

KEY MOMENTS: The Defenders scored a pair of runs in the third inning on 1B Brett Pill's two-run double in the fifth inning double, and added another run in the fifth with the aid of two walks and an Akron error...The Aeros climbed out of the early hole with a three-run fourth-inning highlighted by three consecutive hits and RBIs by left fielder Matt McBride, right fielder Jerad Head and shortstop Carlos Rivero...Aeros first baseman Beau Mills lined a pitch with two outs in the 10th inning between the Defenders first and second basemen to score center fielder Cristo Arnal from second base for the game winner.

STORM'S STARS: Mills went 2-for-5with a run scored and the game-winning RBI...Pill collected two hits (including the two-run double) and has been a tough out all series.

NOTES: After the first two games of the series between the Eastern League's top two teams, each team has won a game. The Northern-Division leading Defenders won Tuesday's game 4-3 in regulation, while Southern-Division leading Akron took Wednesday's action by a 4-3 score in 10 innings.

Thursday marks the rubber match as the teams wrap up warmups for their potential playoff meeting next month.

* After missing the first half of the season while recovering from hernia surgery, veteran second baseman Jesus Merchan is batting .419 (13-for-31) with eight runs scored in his first seven games with the Aeros.

* The Defenders continue to own the best road record in the league at 38-22. Part of the reason for their out-of-town success has to do with the graveyard that is Dodd Stadium. That is because away from their home turf, Defenders batters have hit 38 home runs compared to just 11 at Dodd.

* Connecticut second baseman Brock Bond saw his 16-game hitting streak come to an end in Tuesday's 4-3 win over host Akron. Bond not only went hitless, but failed to reach base safely for the first time in 67 consecutive games.

* A familiar face to many of the Aeros players and coaches arrived in Akron's clubhouse at 6 p.m. Wednesday, just an hour before game time.

"Berg!" shouted pitching coach Ruben Niebla as pitcher Eric Berger arrived from the airport and tossed his bags to the floor give his former - and now current - pitching coach a big hug.

Berger was promoted to Akron after going 7-8 with a 2.45 ERA at high Class-A Kinston, where he ranked second among all pitchers in the Carolina League. In 110 1/3 innings, Berger had racked up 100 strikeouts (third in the league) compared to issuing 45 walks.

Berger takes the place of left-hander Ryan Edell (4-1, 2.32 ERA) on the Aeros roster as Edell was promoted to Triple-A Columbus Wednesday. In also taking over Edell's spot in the Aeros rotation, Berger is scheduled to make his Akron debut Friday.

UP NEXT: The Aeros wrap up their three-game series against visiting Connecticut (San Francisco Giants) tonight at Canal Park at 7:05 p.m. Aeros left-hander Bobby Livingston (8-6, 4.70 ERA) and Defenders right-hander Daryl Maday(5-3, 3.58 ERA) are the scheduled pitchers.

RADIO: WARF (1350 am).

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