Judge homers in Trenton’s series finale loss vs. Akron

TRENTON, NJ – In a beautiful Sunday afternoon, in front of an announced attendance of 4,948, the Trenton Thunder lost the series finale against the Akron RubberDucks by ample score of 9-3. Thunder’s starter, Taylor Garrison, had his second straight rough start, pitching through only 3 innings and allowing 7 runs, 5 of them earned on 7 hits.

After the game, manager Al Pedrique noted that Garrison had been elevating the ball today. “Anytime you try to elevate the ball, that’s when you get hit hard,” said Pedrique. The skipper said that Garrison will have to make some adjustments, including being more aggressive and less fine with the strike zone.

“The way I see it is that he’s trying to avoid contact. Every time you pitch [avoiding] contact you [get hurt],” said Pedrique.

After Garrison left the game, the bullpen limited Akron’s batters to two runs, but Trenton’s offense didn’t wake up, getting a lot of runners on base but stranding 8. The Thunder’s offensive highlight was a two-run shot by Aaron Judge in the bottom of the 7th inning, his fourth of the year and 11th and 12th RBI. Besides Judge and Jake Cave, who went 2-for-4, the rest of the lineup failed to capitalize on Akron’s few mistakes. Judge finished the afternoon 2-for-5.

Manager Pedrique said that he’s happy with Aaron Judge, and is not at all worried with his HR total of only 4. “I like what I see from this kid. His raw power; he showed it today. He’s trying to hit the ball the other way with more confidence.” Talking about Judge’s consistency, Pedrique said that the young slugger trusts his stuff and has confidence. “The home runs [will come].”

Starter Mike Clevinger’s start was key for the RubberDucks. The right-handed pitcher threw 6 innings of solid baseball, allowing only one run on seven hits while striking out 7 Thunders. Clevinger left the game up 9-1, and Gran Sides, who pitched the last three innings of the game after Clevinger’s departure and wound up taking home the save, made sure he secured the win for the 24-year old, who’s now 1-1 this season with an impressive 1.95 ERA.

Trenton’s problems started early on in the game. Akron scored four runs in the very first inning after starter Taylor Garrison took 12 minutes to get the first Akron batter out. Two of the runs were unearned thanks to an error by third baseman Dante Bichette Jr. Akron also stole two bases on catcher Gary Sanchez, along with a wild pitch by Garrison. Manager Pedrique attributed Akron’s ability to steal bases today to Garrison’s slow delivery.

Erik Gonzalez led off the third inning with a solo shot to left. Garrison then walked Anthony Gallas and Jordan Smith singled. Tony Walters then put down a sacrifice bunt, moving both runners to scoring position for Bryson Myles, who doubled to left center, bringing in another two for Akron who led 7-zip at that point. They then scored their last two runs of the game in the fifth inning, before the Thunder scored one of their own in the bottom part of the next inning, and another two on Judge’s homer in the 7th, good for the final score of 9-3.

The Thunder will stay home for another three days to face the Erie SeaWolves Monday through Wednesday, where they will try to bring their record back up above .500. “We’re not hitting the way I know we can hit. We’re not playing the way I know we can play,” said Pedrique following today’s loss.

“I’m happy this series is over and that we will start fresh tomorrow,” he finished saying.

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