Woodbine Racetrack Game Report: Leafs Waste Opportunities in Loss to Cardinals

by Ryan Eakin

TORONTO - Coulda, shoulda, woulda. 

The Hamilton Cardinals beat the Toronto Maple Leafs 5-2 on a hot, sunny, and windy afternoon at Christie Pits to improve to 9-26 on the season.

With the loss, the Leafs fall to 21-15.

Hamilton starter Michael Bonaccorso took a no-decision before giving way to reliever Sam Turcotte, who picked up the win.

The Stony Brook alumn allowed one earned run on four hits and one walk in two innings of work.

Cardinals third basemen Laine Renaud led the way at the plate, going two-for-four.

Hamilton closer Jose Fernandez picked up a six-out save. The former Toronto Blue Jay struck out five of the six batters he faced.

Toronto starter Sam Greene took the loss despite another strong outing.

The former McGill University pitcher allowed three earned runs on three hits and one walk in four and one-third innings pitched.

HAMILTON - 5-8-1

TORONTO - 2-9-2

BIGGEST PLAY OF THE GAME: Up 4-2 in the top of the eighth inning, Renaud hit a two-out RBI double to score Cardinals first basemen Laine Renaud to make it a 5-2 ballgame -- putting the game well out of reach with Fernandez on the mound.

DID YOU SEE THAT? In the top of the fourth inning, Cardinals centre fielder Tyler Duncan crushed a ball to right field for what looked to be a no-doubt two-run home run, but the first base umpire called the ball foul.

With video review not quite available at Christie Pits, it is tough to say whether or not the ball was actually fair or not.

BY THE NUMBERS...

2. The Cardinals scored two runs in the game by sending a runner home from third base on a throw down to second base.

3. Maple Leafs shortstop Jose Vinicio was thrown out three times on Sunday. Twice via stolen base attempts and once via a pickoff play. The pickoff play came with two outs in the seventh inning and the go-ahead run at the plate with Marcus Knecht up. A backbreaker.

10. The Leafs left 10 runners on base -- twice as many as the Cardinals, who left five on.

14. The Leafs pitching staff recorded 14 strikeouts.

INSIDE THE LOCKERROOM... 

Maple Leafs manager Damon Topolie on the loss: "I don't know how many base runners we left on but it was a lot and a great example of beating ourselves. We had every opportunity to push runs across and we didn't."

Topolie, a catcher himself, on the two runs that the Leafs allowed to score by Maple Leafs catcher Justin Marra throwing down to second base with a runner on third base: "We have to make sure we get an out and we didn't get anything on either play. That is what kills you. That whole inning we didn't get fundamental outs. We missed a double play and a routine ground ball to second base. It was just not a good inning."

Topolie on how frustrating it is to lose a second game in a row due to poor defence: "It's just not good baseball. We need to clean it up. We still have a few games left though to start playing playoff baseball before the playoffs."

Topolie on if he says anything to his players after a rough loss: "No, there's a lot of veteran guys in that room and they know what's going on. I don't have to get in their ear. They know we laid an egg today and didn't play well."

LOOKING AHEAD...

The Leafs will seek revenge on the Cardinals on Friday before travelling to Guelph on Saturday.

They will then wrap up their three-in-three weekend by hosting the Brantford Red Sox on Sunday.

Photo: Craig Aikin 

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