Crawford solid, Flying Squirrels’ offense explodes in 14-6 win

The following comes directly from the Richmond Flying Squirrels:

RVA– San Francisco Giants All-Star shortstop Brandon Crawford collected three of the Flying Squirrels 15 hits to help lead Richmond (13-17) to a 14-6 win over Altoona (17-12) on Tuesday night. Crawford also turned a double play defensively and played seven full innings in his second rehab appearance with Richmond. The Squirrels will try for the series sweep to end the homestand on Wednesday afternoon at 12:05 p.m.

Crawford scored the game’s first run to give Richmond a first inning lead. The Giants shortstop flared a two-out single into shallow left field and moved to third base on Chris Shaw’s bloop base hit to center. Miguel Gomez then dribbled an infield single up the first base line, scoring Crawford, for the 1-0 advantage.

Richmond’s Andrew Suarez battled through six innings to earn the win. Suarez (2-3) did not allow a hit over the first two innings, needing just 16 pitches to record the first six outs. The lefty was moving through the third inning until Pablo Reyes lined a two-out single into the outfield. Kevin Newman followed with another base hit and Keven Kramer delivered a two-run double to take a 2-1 lead.

Altoona right-hander Tanner Anderson regrouped after allowing four hits in the first inning. Anderson retired the side in order in the second and again in the third. The Harvard-product need only 25 pitches to record the first nine outs of the game.

The Squirrels regained the lead in the bottom of the fourth inning as Anderson walked the leadoff batter Chris Shaw. Miguel Gomez smashed a single into right field and a wild pitch moved the runners to second and third. Hunter Cole then tied the game on a ground out and Brandon Bednar launched a double to make it a 3-2 contest. Richmond continued the inning and forced Anderson from the game. Anderson struck out Suarez with two runners on and was replaced by Buddy Borden. Borden promptly hit Slade Heathcott with a pitch on the helmet and walked C.J. Hinojosa to force in a run. Crawford was the next hitter and popped up with three runners on to end the inning.

Both teams added a run in fifth inning to make it a 5-3 contest. Edwin Epsinal delivered a sacrifice fly for Altoona while Suarez drew a bases loaded walk. Altoona walked nine batters, three times with the bases loaded in the defeat.

Suarez carried the game into the seventh inning for Richmond. Pablo Reyes opened the inning with a base hit and Kevin Newman roped a triple into the right field corner to pull the Curve to within one,5-4. Reliever D.J. Snelten then entered and struck out the next three hitters to strand the tying run at third base. Suarez finished with six innings pitched, 10 hits and four runs allowed. He walked one and struck out three to earn the win.

The Squirrels added the exclamation point on a three-run home run from Slade Heathcott in the eighth inning. Heathcott, facing infielder Chris Diaz on the mound, drilled a majestic shot over the right field wall for a 14-6 lead.

Snelten fired two innings of relief and struck out five batters. Rodolfo Martinez worked the ninth in his second appearance of the season.

The Squirrels conclude their action-packed eight-game, seven-day homestand on Wednesday afternoon at 12:05 p.m., with RVA Day. Richmond will send RHP Sam Coonrod  (1-2, 3.24) to the mound against Altoona’s LHP Brandon Waddell (0-1, 5.14).