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Aguilar, Latimore go deep in Aeros' 7-5 loss to Mets

Matt Packer, Eric Berger struggle as Aeros drop third game in a row

Aguilar, Latimore go deep in Aeros' 7-5 loss to Mets
Jesus Aguilar (Photo: Lianna Holub)
April 6, 2013
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AKRON, OH -- The Akron Aeros and the Binghamton Mets both broke out of their offensive slumps Saturday afternoon, but unfortunately for the home team, the Mets broke out a little bit more.

The Aeros suffered their first 0-3 start to a season since 1997 as Akron fell to Binghamton 7-5 at Canal Park. The B-Mets hit the ball hard all day and busted out for 14 hits and seven runs after starting the year with consecutive 2-1 wins.

The Aeros, on the other hand struggled outside of two big home runs. Manager Edwin Rodriguez could get frustrated with the overall lack of scoring and wins, but he thinks his young team just needs time.

"As a staff we have to be patient," Rodriguez said. "Because if you look around, we have six or seven guys who were in A-ball last year. They are trying to realize that they're in Double-A. They're trying to believe that they belong here.

"As soon as they settle down, they'll go back to what they are."

B-Mets right-hander Logan Verrett continued Binghamton's success against Aeros hitters in this series, two-hitting the team through six scoreless innings. Rodriguez remarked on how the Top 30 prospect in the Mets' system seemed to be in midseason form.

"You have to tip your hat to them," Rodriguez said. "They've been changing speeds. They've been throwing strikes, attacking the strike zone. They've been doing everything right."

Binghamton manager Pedro Lopez kept Verrett in the game one inning too long, however. Right fielder Carlos Moncrief started the seventh inning with an infield single back up the middle, setting the stage for first baseman Jesus Aguilar.

Aguilar hit Akron's first home run of the year, smacking a 2-1 pitch from Verrett deep into the bullpen in right field. That opposite field power is a big factor for Aguilar, as Rodriguez noted.

"That's what he is," Rodriguez said. "His power is [to] right-center, right field. He hit a double yesterday to right field. [Today], home run to right field."

Shortstop Ronny Rodriguez drove in another run with an infield single to make the score 5-3. Akron was close at that point, but the pitching just could not keep them in the game.

The Aeros got marvelous pitching from Danny Salazar and T.J. House in the first two games of the season, but left-hander Matt Packer really struggled Saturday. Packer, who missed a decent chunk of 2012 with a rotator cuff injury, simply did not have it.

The left-hander gave up plenty of hard contact and allowed nine hits -- including two doubles and two triples -- while giving up five runs (four earned) in 4.2 innings.

"He's not a power pitcher," Rodriguez said of Packer. "He relies on changing speeds and spotting the ball. He was pitching up in the zone today... A guy like that, he needs to pitch either way inside or down low. He was up in the zone and his pitches were getting over the plate.

"Unless you throw 98+, you can't do that."

Packer's fastball sat between 84-86 MPH Saturday, well below the 87-90 range he was in before the shoulder issue last year. Rodriguez is not worried about that shoulder, however, chalking the velocity dip up to other factors.

"First outing, cold weather," Rodriguez said of Packer's velocity. "[With those], usually you're going to see 1-2 miles [per hour] less than usual."

Eric Berger relieved Packer and was not much better, struggling to find his control and allowing three hits, two runs, one walk, and two wild pitches in 2.2 innings.

He managed to walk the tightrope in his first two innings, but Berger fell apart in the eighth when a two-run triple from designated hitter Blake Forsythe put the game out of reach for good.

Forsythe, who finished a home run short of the cycle, drove Binghamton's offense, going 3-for-4 with three RBI.

Left fielder Quincy Latimore, who Cleveland acquired in return for Jeanmar Gomez this offseason, made things interesting in the ninth with a two-run home run to center.

The Aeros (0-3) will look to avoid a sweep tomorrow when right-hander Paolo Espino takes to the mound. The B-Mets (3-0) will counter with right-hander Tyler Pill, the fourth consecutive Top 30  prospect to start for Binghamton.

Miscellaneous

Attendance: 1,702... Time of Game: 3:00... First pitch was at 2:08... Game time temperature: 49 degrees... Hot-hitting second baseman Jose Ramirez continued his hitting streak, poking a single to right field in the eighth inning. The switch-hitter is now 5-for-12 on the year... Cleveland native Alex Lavisky made his season debut, starting at catcher and lacing a double deep into the right-center gap... Sun was a factor in the early innings, as Moncrief had one fly ball land next to him and seemed to struggle to pick up a few others.

If you want to follow Jim on Twitter, he’s @JimPiascik. If you want to e-mail him, you can do so at jpiasci1@gmail.com. If you want to read his Master's thesis on college athletes and Twitter, you can do so here.

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