Tamane Has Big Day as Leafs Wrap Up Weekend With Win

by Ryan Eakin

TORONTO -- A successful weekend.

The Toronto Maple Leafs beat the Hamilton Cardinals 4-1 on Sunday afternoon to improve to 14-11 on the season.

With the loss, the Cardinals fall to 6-17.

Toronto starter Sam Greene took a no-decision after pitching four brilliant innings to kick off what was a bullpen day for the Leafs.

The righty allowed no earned runs on two hits and five strikeouts.

Maple Leafs reliever Franklin Hernandez picked up the win in his IBL debut.

The former Milwaukee Brewers prospect allowed one earned run on two hits and two walks while striking out four Cardinal batters in three innings of work.

Toronto left fielder Grant Tamane had his best day of the season at the plate, going three-for-three, highlighted by hitting a two-run home run in the bottom of the eighth inning.

Leafs reliever Chris Nagorski picked up the save.

Hamilton starter Aaron Duffy picked up a no-decision as well after allowing one run -- none earned -- through four innings of work.

Cardinals southpaw Drew Mainprize took the loss after allowing one earned run on one hit and one walk in two and two-thirds inning of work.

HAMILTON - 1-6-1

TORONTO - 4-7-0

BIGGEST PLAY OF THE GAME: Up 2-1 in the bottom of the eighth inning, Tamane's two-run home run to left field put the ball game out of reach for the Cardinals.

DID YOU SEE THAT? With the Leafs up 2-1 in the top of the eighth inning, Cardinals centre fielder Justin Gideon hit a base hit to centre field that looked as though it was going to lead to runners being on the corners with no one out.

Leafs centre fielder Connor Lewis, however, threw out Cardinals catcher Aidan Muir at third base after a bullet of a throw.

BY THE NUMBERS...

0. Zero errors from the Leafs on Sunday, in what was one of their best games of the season defensively between Lewis' play in the eighth inning and Maple Leafs shortstop Jose Vinicio making one slick play after another.

4. Between Greene, Kyle Smyth, Hernandez, and Nagorski, four Leafs pitchers combined for one-hit ball on the afternoon.

5. The Leafs now only play five times in the next 14 days after playing six games in the last nine days.

INSIDE THE LOCKER ROOM...

Maple Leafs manager Damon Topolie on Hernandez's debut: "We wanted to see what we had in him and he did a great job today. He threw a lot of strikes and kept us in the game."

Topolie on Greene's outing: "He dominated and threw strikes. That is all we ever ask from our pitchers -- to compete and to fill up the zone."

Tamane on the outing the Leafs pitching staff had: "It was huge. Hats off to all of the guys, especially Hernandez. He really put in an effort there. We weren't sure how many innings he was going to throw but he really stepped up for us."

Topolie on the difference it makes when Tamane is in the lineup: "He's a veteran now. He knows what he needs to do to get himself ready. That is a big hit but he has had a lot of big hits throughout his career."

Topolie on the Leafs playing some small ball, despite not exactly being known for that over the years: "We have won in so many different ways this year. We have to do that kind of stuff in the playoffs so it was a great day, in a close game, to do it."

Tamane on the Leafs playing small ball here and there: "You never know what can happen in the Pits. I have seen 20-19 games. Every at-bat is crucial and I think every team knows that. We play a little differently when we are at home."

Topolie on going two-and-two on the week: "It was a really tough week. We called it a grind week. Four games in five days is not normal in this league so I'll take going two-and-two."

LOOKING AHEAD...

The Leafs are back at it on Wednesday when they host the streaking Barrie Baycats.

Photo: Craig Aikin 

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