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Blue Crabs rally for eight runs in final two innings to begin 11-game road trip

By DALLAS COGLEStaff writer

Just when Monday appeared to be a vexing case of, ‘Here we go again,’ for the Southern Maryland Blue Crabs, they pulled a Bridgeport on Bridgeport.

The Blue Crabs dropped three of four at home to Bridgeport a couple of weeks ago, blowing two ninth-inning leads and another in the eighth to account for each of the losses. And Monday was unfolding in nearly the same pattern as the Blue Crabs’ three-run lead and shutout were completely erased in Bridgeport when the Bluefish plated four runs after their first two batters were retired in the seventh.

But the Blue Crabs trumped the rally with some late-inning heroics of their own as newly acquired Javier Colina stroked a one-out double in the eighth to spark a three-run frame, which included a pair of RBI triples from Brian Barton and Matt Padgett.

In the ninth, the Blue Crabs sealed the 8-4 comeback victory with two more insurance runs as they continued to give Bridgeport a dosage of its own medicine.

“I was just looking for a good pitch; I had the count in my favor and I put some good wood on it,” Barton said of his clutch eighth-inning triple that drove in Colina to tie the contest at 4 with one away.

Barton then scored the go-ahead run on the play, which turned on out to be the winning tally, as Bridgeport threw the ball into the dugout while trying to gun him down on the base paths. Barton’s aggressive base running combined with the undesirable weather conditions worked against Bridgeport’s defense, and the Blue Crabs refused to let up from there with a 5-4 lead.

“It was one of those plays where it’s foggy, the weather conditions were not favorable and I just said, ‘What the heck,’ and kept going,” Barton added. “Fortunately, they made an errant throw and I was able to score. It’s a good feeling because it allowed me to help get the team ahead. We were able to close them out.”

Tuesday’s contest in the three-game series finished too late for inclusion into this edition.

Padgett followed Barton with a single in Monday’s eighth and with two down, Mike Daniel tripled him in to up the Blue Crabs advantage to 6-4.

The ninth saw Richard Giannotti trigger two more Blue Crabs runs — both unearned — with a leadoff double. Another Bridgeport error played a role in the Blue Crabs’ scoring efforts, enabling Giannotti to score when the ball was thrown away on a sacrifice bunt. Then Paco Figueroa came home with the Blue Crabs final run on a Colina sacrifice fly.

“This may be the best win of this young season,” Blue Crabs manager Patrick Osborn said about the start to an 11-game road trip that also features a pair of four-game series in York and Sugar Land before his club’s next game in its Southern Maryland confines on June 1. “For us to come back and go ahead shows what this team is made of. This may be that win that gets us started. The best is yet to come. I can guarantee that.”

The outcome was pivotal for more than just the psychological effect on the Blue Crabs given how they had previously lost to Bridgeport. The victory pulled the Blue Crabs (12-12) within 3 1/2 games of Liberty Division-leading Long Island (15-8) while trimming their hole to one behind Bridgeport (13-11). Long Island lost at home to Lancaster on Monday.

“This was a great win,” Osborn added Monday. “The conditions were terrible. It was cold, wet and foggy, and we were able to battle through it. I’m extremely proud of the guys, the way the game was played — to have our three-run lead spoiled and to come back.”

About the only thing that went wrong Monday was Blue Crabs starting pitcher Nick Green coming away with a no-decision despite another quality outing of 6 2/3 innings with only two earned runs allowed on four hits. He did walk a season-high four however while fanning a couple.

It marked the third time already this season that the righty has pitched at least six innings while yielding no more than two runs but has come away with a no-decision. Green’s 2.73 ERA was eighth in the league entering Tuesday’s action.

“[Green] pitched very well, but he’ll tell you that it was not one of his better nights,” Osborn said. “His command was not there but he’s a gamer. Even if he doesn’t have his best stuff, he still gives us a chance to win. I wish his name could be next to that W.”

The Blue Crabs entered their long road trip after having a winning homestand of four wins in six games.

Still, hosting back-to-back series at Waldorf’s Regency Furniture Stadium was shaping up to be even better last week against a pair of last-place opponents in their respective divisions after the Blue Crabs completed a three-game sweep of York Thursday with a 9-3 win — applying the dagger with a four-run seventh — before opening the weekend set Friday with a wild 11-6 win over Camden.

The Blue Crabs trailed Camden 6-0 through 1 1/2 innings before exploding for 10 runs from the second through fourth innings.

Saturday, the Blue Crabs spotted Camden another massive lead — this time of eight runs — but were unable to rekindle the same rallying magic in an 8-4 loss.

And Sunday, the Blue Crabs were edged 3-2 by Camden in the rubber game of the series. Camden tallied all its runs in the fourth while the Blue Crabs did their scoring in the sixth.

“I was happy to go 4-2 [on the homestand] the way things were going. We got back on track,” said Osborn, who was ejected in the eighth Sunday after disagreeing with an umpire’s call. “It was a tough loss on Sunday because we had multiple chances to come through. But we’ve been playing better as of late.

“We’re starting to get the momentum in our favor.”

Atlantic League standings

(Standings as of Monday)

Liberty Division W L Pct. GB Streak Last 10

Long Island 15 8 .652 ---- L-1 6-4

Bridgeport 13 11 .542 2.5 L-2 3-7

Southern Maryland 12 12 .500 3.5 W-1 5-5

Camden 10 13 .435 5.0 W-2 5-5

Freedom Division W L Pct. GB Streak Last 10

Lancaster 14 10 .583 ---- W-1 7-3

Somerset 12 11 .522 1.5 L-3 4-6

Sugar Land 10 14 .417 4.0 W-2 6-4

York 8 15 .348 5.5 L-1 5-5

MondayBlue Crabs 8, Bridgeport 4

Blue Crabs 000 012 032 8 10 0

Bridgeport 000 000 400 4 6 2

WP Oliveros (1-1), LP Bayliss (1-1)

Extra-base hits: 2B Colina (BC, 1), Padgett (BC, 5), Giannotti (BC, 5), Jones (B, 5), Redman 2 (B, 9), Rogers (B, 4); 3B Espinosa (BC, 1), Barton (BC, 3), Daniel (BC, 1)

SundayCamden 3, Blue Crabs 2

Camden 000 300 000 3 6 0

Blue Crabs 000 002 000 2 7 0

WP Corey (2-3), LP Suarez (0-1), Save Lujan (3)

Extra-base hits: 2B Macias (C, 1), Perez (C, 6), Padgett (BC, 4), Lopez (BC, 5); HR Colina (BC, 2)

SaturdayCamden 8, Blue Crabs 4

Camden 201 500 000 8 9 0

Blue Crabs 000 301 000 4 8 1

WP Reese (1-0), LP Schlact (0-1)

Extra-base hits: 2B Rice (C, 5), Matera (C, 2), Eigsti 3 (C, 6); HR Matera (C, 2), Colina (BC, 1), Giannotti (BC, 1)

FridayBlue Crabs 11, Camden 6

Camden 420 000 000 6 9 0

Blue Crabs 035 200 10x 11 13 1

WP Reichert (1-0), LP Jarrett (2-3)

Extra-base hits: 2B Rice (C, 4), Knazek 2 (C, 3), Padgett 2 (BC, 3), Owens 2 (BC, 4); HR Burgamy (C, 4), Matera (C, 1)

ThursdayBlue Crabs 9, York 3

York 000 002 001 3 11 0

Blue Crabs 000 050 40x 9 13 0

WP Vasquez (2-1), LP Sanchez (1-2)

Extra-base hits: 2B Castro 2 (Y, 3), Hernandez 2 (Y, 6), Perez (Y, 5), Hu (BC, 9), Barton (BC, 3), Daniel (BC, 4); 3B Perez (Y, 1); HR Shanks (Y, 2), Hu (BC, 1)