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Run by The Trentonian's Nick Peruffo, this blog will provide daily multimedia coverage of the Trenton Thunder.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Krum's triple leads Thunder past B-mets

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TRENTON — By the time the dust settled and everything had been sorted out after yesterday’s 3-2 Thunder win over the Binghamton Mets, everybody in the house knew that Austin Krum had struck the game-ending hit.

Whether it was a home run, however, was another question entirely.

In the ninth, with his team down by a run and with two outs and runners on first and third, Krum swatted reliever Erik Turgeon’s first pitch high and deep to right-center field.

It looked to nearly everyone that Krum had a walk-off three-run homer. First-base umpire Travis Hatch, however, saw differently and ruled immediately that the ball had hit the top of the wall and bounced back toward the field.

So while the ball was still in play, Addison Maruszak was still trotting toward home plate until acting manager Justin Pope told him he needed to kick it into gear and get himself across home plate while Krum scampered to third with what was ruled a triple.

He did just that, beating the throw home without a slide and capping his team’s fifth win on a seven-game homestand.

“I saw the ball hit off the top of the wall and then I looked at Travis, and he was giving the safe sign, so then I immediately looked at Maruszak to see where he was on the field,” Krum explained. “My heart started racing a little bit because he was taking it easy a little bit.”

For his part, Pope wasn’t immediately aware that Krum’s ball was still in play.

“I thought the ball went out,” he admitted, “so when Addison was rounding third base, I was saying ‘home run.’ Next thing I know, I see them throwing the ball in and I start screaming ‘run.’ If he would have been thrown out at home, I would have felt horrible.”

Jose Gil and Melky Mesa opened the ninth with consecutive doubles, slicing Binghamton’s two-run deficit in half.

Jose Pirela then bunted Mesa to third, and Ray Kruml made the second out on a hard grounder to first.

Maruszak followed with the walk, and Krum capped it a pitch later with the winning three-bagger.

“Maruszak had just had a good at-bat, and I knew he was going to try to get ahead,” Krum recounted. “I was just looking for something up in the zone to get a good swing on. I obviously didn’t try to hit it where I did, but I put a good swing on it.

The comeback obscured a second straight so-so start from Dellin Betances, who struggled with his command to the tune of five walks in six innings. He’s issued nine free passes over his last two starts, this after walking just two in his first three outings.

“I’ve got to get better with that, man,” he said. “If I want to move up, I’ve got to get better with command of my fastball and other pitches. That’s something I’m going to work on for my next game.”

He also suggested that some of his struggles have come because he’s tried to do too much when he’s put a hitter in a hole.

“I just feel like I’m trying to do too much when I have two strikes, instead of just pitching and working to contact and stuff like that,” he said.

With their hot stretch, the Thunder have moved themselves to three games above .500 in advance of three-game sets with Erie and Portland, which are a combined 27-42.

“We’re starting to put it together, definitely,” Krum said. “We’re led by our pitching, and you saw that show up all series. We have timely hits now and then, and that’s the way you win baseball games.”

NOTES: Manager Tony Franklin, still recovering from a bout of chest pains on Thursday, will not travel to Erie with the rest of the team tomorrow. ... Craig Heyer was wearing a soft, claw-like cast around his left hand yesterday, but said it wasn’t affecting his work. ... Tim Norton struck out the side in the ninth. Over 18 2/3 innings, he’s fanned 30 against six walks.

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