PITTSFIELD -- Not even some tarp duty could wipe the smiles off the faces of the Pittsfield Suns.
The Suns scored early and often against visiting Torrington Monday night at Wahconah Park. When rain brought the curtain down on the game, the Suns went home with a 13-6, six-inning victory.
"We're going to try to get back to .500. That'll be our big stepping stone," said Suns catcher Derek Gardella. "Then we just go on from there and hopefully get on a nice little streak before the playoffs."
Gardella was one of four Suns with multiple hits. He was 2 for 3 with 5 runs batted in. Second baseman Rob McLam was 2 for 4 with 4 RBI. Frank Crinella, who the Suns are pushing for the internet vote to determine the final All-Star, was 3 for 4 and scored three runs.
Then there was designated hitter Brendan Slattery, who reached base all four times he came to bat. Slattery was 2 for 2, scoring four runs and belting a two-run double in the second inning. For Slattery, who is hitting .277, it was his first extra-base hit of the season.
"Oh, yeah. I've been hitting the ball well, hitting the ball hard into the gaps," said Slattery. "In some of these ballparks, the balls don't fall, they get run down. It's nice to get into one again and finally find a hole."
Jon Luthe (1-4) finally got into the win column for the Suns. The right hander from Arkansas State did give up three runs on six hits, but only two of the runs were earned. He struck out four and walked four.
"He pitched real well," Gardella said of Luthe. "He walked the first guy in the first inning, and after that, he settled down. He pounded the zone with strikes. He gave us a great five innings. It was awesome for him too."
Luthe walked Ryan Kelly and gave up a single to Casey Jones to open the first inning. But the righty struck out Bob Seda and before Brian Fay grounded out, Gardella threw out Jones trying to steal second.
Then in the home first, the Suns erupted for five runs on two hits, four walks by Torrington starter Mike Gibbons and a hit-batter. The Suns sent 10 batters to the plate in the frame. McLam's two-run single was the big hit of the inning.
After the Titans scored two runs on two hits and an error in the top of the second, the Suns came back with three runs on three hits and a walk. Slattery blasted a two-run double to right-center field, plating Frank Crinella and Kyle Singleton. Slattery scored on Gardella's double to make it 8-2, and the Suns held the Titans at bay the rest of the game.
Gibbons didn't get out of the second inning for the Titans, giving up eight earned runs on only four hits. But he walked five.
"It was a bad start. We haven't had one of them in a long time," Torrington manager Misha Dworken said. "Normally, we pitch well. Today it wasn't the case."
Each time the Suns would score, the Titans would answer. In fact, when Torrington got three unearned runs in the top of the sixth off reliever Peter Gregory, the lead was cut to
Pittsfield responded with three more runs -- two scoring on a McLam triple against reliever Tom Quicker -- and the Suns had the 13-6 lead.
"Our pitching staff had been pitching great all year. It was one bad game out of them," said Dworken. "We actually swung the bat pretty well. That should be a W."
The game was stopped at 9:32 because of rain and after about a 20-minute wait, the umpires called the game and the Suns had a win.
"Once we get that next win" to .500, said Slattery, "we'll be sailing from there, I feel like. We're just starting to click on all cylinders."