Until Tuesday night, Akron Aeros lefty Matt Packer hadn't pitched at Canal Park since last August 29th, when he picked up a 6-4 win over the Reading Phillies. Despite almost 11 months between home appearances, Packer didn't seem to miss a beat.
The Aeros lefty worked 7 1/3 innings on Tuesday night, giving up eight hits and two runs as the Aeros outlasted the Erie SeaWolves, 4-2, at Canal Park.
Packer (2-0) missed the first three months of the season with a shoulder strain. He didn't begin throwing in games until late June and joined the Aeros, his team for all of last season, only last Thursday when he debuted with a win at Richmond, also a 4-2 final.
On Tuesday, Packer didn't allow a run through his first six innings. He finally yielded a solo homer to Erie's Avisail Garcia leading off the seventh. He gave up a single to Jamie Johnson in the eighth and left with one out in favor of Kyle Landis. Landis surrendered an RBI single to Rawley Bishop before working out of the inning.
By the time the SeaWolves got to Packer, the Aeros had built a 4-0 lead. Juan Diaz tripled home the game's first run in the fourth against starter Jared Gayhart (1-2). In the fifth, reliever Ryan Robowski issued a pair of lead-off walks, preceding a two-run double by Davis Stoneburner. Matt Lawson later added an RBI single to chase home Stoneburner.
Guarding a 4-2 lead, the Aeros turned to closer Preston Guilmet in the ninth. Guilmet worked around a two out single and recorded the final out courtesy of a diving catch in right by Jordan Henry to end the game. It was Guilmet's 17th save of the season in 21 chances.
The Aeros (62-41) have won both games of the series and will go for the sweep on Wednesday night. The Aeros, who matched a season-high at 21 games over the .500 mark, have won eight straight home games at Canal Park.
The Aeros and SeaWolves (46-57) will conclude the series Wednesday night at 7:05. Erie will send RHP James Avery (10-7, 4.05) to the mound, while the Aeros will counter with LHP Giovanni Soto (6-7, 3.72).