Topolie Goes Yard; Pitching Brilliant as Leafs beat Cardinals Again

by Ryan Eakin

HAMILTON -- A pitching delight.

The Toronto Maple Leafs beat the Hamilton Cardinals 5-1 on Friday evening to improve to 10-6 on the season.

With the loss, the Cardinals fall to 4-10.

Toronto starter Marek Deska picked up the win in five brilliant innings of work, allowing only one earned run on one hit and two walks.

The longtime Leaf struck out four Hamilton batters.

He was relieved by starter-turned-reliever Zach Sloan, who pitched three innings of perfect baseball while striking out a pair of batters before being relieved by reliever Chris Nagorski, who wrapped things up in the ninth inning.

Maple Leafs designated hitter Damon Topolie led the way at the plate, going one-for-four with a two-run home run in the top of the second inning to give the Leafs a 3-1 lead.

Hamilton starter Chris Lazar took the loss, allowing five earned runs on nine hits and two walks.

TORONTO - 5-9-2

HAMILTON - 1-2-3

BIGGEST PLAY OF THE GAME: Topolie's two-run home run off Lazar in the top of the second inning gave the Leafs the lead for good.

BY THE NUMBERS...

2. The Leafs allowed just two hits on the night -- one in the first and then one in the ninth -- in what was easily their best pitching performance of the season, despite the fact that they came into the game with a pair of shutouts.

3. With the win, the Leafs extend their win streak to three games.

3. Maple Leafs right fielder Yusei Teraorka reached base three times on Friday as he continues to show he can be an effective bat at the bottom of the Leafs lineup.

LOOKING AHEAD...

The Leafs now begin a home-and-home with the Welland Jackfish, starting Saturday in Welland before wrapping up in Toronto on Sunday.

Photo: Craig Aikin 

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