Legends lose season opener to Charleston, brace for Orange assault

Stein's Pearl of idea puts heat on Legends

mmaloney@herald-leader.comApril 8, 2011 

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Sometimes a loss can leave a team seeing red.

With Thursday night's 6-1 loss to the Charleston RiverDogs, though, the Lexington Legends are seeing orange.

A crowd of 7,999 saw the Legends open their 11th season in the renamed Whitaker Bank Ballpark.

Now, Legends president and CEO Alan Stein must pay up. A University of Kentucky graduate, Stein continued his custom of "guaranteeing" victory in the opener or else ... he would "dress like Bruce Pearl" until the team wins. Stein will be decked in a Tennessee-orange sport coat Friday.

If the Legends lose a second straight, Stein says he'll be bare-chested and covered in body paint Saturday.

"We always want to win," said Jiovanni Mier, who had two of five Legends hits plus a walk. "But that gives us more reason to win, especially for these fans."

Charleston was led by $3 million man Gary Sanchez, who went 2-for-4, scored twice and drove in two with a homer that carried an estimated 420 feet.

Rated by Baseball America as the No. 2 prospect in the New York Yankees system, Sanchez ripped a Mike Foltynewicz fastball over the manual scoreboard in left-center to cap a three-run fifth inning. That gave the RiverDogs a 5-1 lead.

The Yankees signed him out of the Dominican Republic in 2009, when he was 16, for $3 million.

"We got some big hits tonight," said Aaron Ledesma, a winner in his managerial debut. "Sanchez put together a nice game for us."

So did Foltynewicz (0-1), despite giving up five runs on six hits over five innings. He struck out two, walked one and hit a batter. His teammates didn't help with a passed ball, a pair of errors and generally shaky defense.

"'Folty' pitched well. We didn't make some plays behind him," Manager Rodney Linares said. "But you want to get the first one out of the way. It's not the way you envision or you want it to be, but we got it out of the way.

"There's 19 guys that are first-year guys in 'A' ball, so they had a little jitters out there. Hopefully, tomorrow they come out and do their thing."

Charleston parlayed two singles and a double to score two second-inning runs.

Sanchez, a 6-foot-2, 220-pound catcher, just missed a leadoff homer, banging a single high off the right-field wall.

He moved up on a passed ball and fly, then scored on Kelvin DeLeon's single.

DeLeon scored on Kyle Roller's double to center.

After stranding a runner at third in each of the first two innings, the Legends tallied an unearned run in the third.

Bryce Lane lined a single that deflected off the glove of pitcher Shane Greene. Second baseman Anderson Feliz charged the ricochet and threw wildly to first, enabling Lane to advance to second.

Lane took third, then home, on a pair of groundouts — the first two of 10 consecutive batters retired by Greene.

The right-hander got the win, yielding four hits over six innings. He struck out three and did not walk a batter.

Sanchez's two-run homer in the fifth came after Slade Heathcott doubled and later scored on an error.

The Dogs added a run in the eighth. J.R. Murphy led off with a gift single — a high fly that fell between catcher Roberto Pena and first baseman Jhonny Medrano about 15 feet up the line. A wild pitch, single and groundout moved him around the bases.

That was the lone damage done against Gabriel Garcia, who worked three innings of relief. Jason Chowning pitched a scoreless ninth.

Danny Burawa notched a save, blanking the Legends on one hit over three innings.

■ Stein did come through on his "guarantee" of a game-time temperature of at least 60 degrees, checking in at 74. ... Legends 1B Telvin Nash (right groin strain) began the season on the seven-day disabled list. ... Ceremonial first-pitch throwers included Kentucky football standouts Randall Cobb, Chris Matthews and DeQuin Evans.

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