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BlueClaws Can’t Hold Early Lead in Loss to Kannapolis Intimidators

The host Lakewood BlueClaws fell to the Kannapolis (N.C.) Intimidators 7-3 in South Atlantic League action Friday night at FirstEnergy Park.

Bradley Strong and Kyle Ruchim each drove in two runs for the Chicago White Sox’s low Class A affiliate in front of a Fireworks Night crowd of 7,125 patrons.

The Intimidators (24-44) snapped an eight-game losing streak while Lakewood (27-40) fell to 3-2 on its seven-game homestand. The teams have split the first two games of their first-half concluding four-game series.

The BlueClaws, a Philadelphia Phillies farm club, took a 2-0 lead in the second inning on a two-run single by Grenny Cumana. Kannapolis cut its deficit to 2-1 in the fourth on a sacrifice fly by Seby Zavala.

Kannapolis swung ahead to stay with four runs in the fifth.

It tied the game on an RBI single by Strong and took the lead on a two-run double by Ruchim to deep left-center field. Landon Lasster capped the scoring with a sacrifice fly.

Lakewood starter Jose Taveras (2-5) allowed five runs on seven hits in 4 1/3 innings, striking out five and walking one. Kannapolis starter Luis Martinez (3-6) surrendered two runs on five hits in five innings.

Kannapolis scored two runs in the sixth for a 7-2 lead. Jose Pujols answered with his 11th homer of the season, a towering drive in the sixth that cleared the left-field wall. He’s second in the league in homers.

Lakewood’s Jiandido Tromp and Jan Hernandez stroked four and two hits, respectively.

Lakewood’s Luis Morales allowed two runs in 3 2/3 innings. Teammate Robert Tasin pitched a scoreless ninth.

The series continues Saturday night at 7:05. Righty Luke Leftwich (6-3) will start for Lakewood against right-hander Chris Comito (1-6).

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