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Stingy Thunder get milestone win04/14/2007 10:15 PM ET
By Dan Friedell / Special to MLB.com
Trenton manager Tony Franklin said he didn't know he was two games away from his 600th career win when the Thunder started Saturday's doubleheader with the Connecticut Defenders.
But after his team completed an impressive sweep, his phone started ringing with reminders.
"Sometimes it's hard to believe that I've been around long enough to have won 600 games," Franklin said after the Thunder finished off a 2-0, 15-inning victory in the nightcap. "I look at the amount of years that I've been in baseball and it doesn't seem like that long ago that I started managing. ... Time just kind of flew by."
Franklin closed in on the milestone victory when Gabe Lopez and Brett Gardner led off the 15th with back-to-back extra base hits. Lopez, who went 4-for-6, ripped a double off Brooks McNiven (0-1) and Gardner followed with a triple to that snapped a scoreless tie. Two batters later, Justin Christian lifted a sacrifice fly.
Lopez, a second baseman who spent all of last season with Trenton, went 6-for-8 in the doubleheader and is batting .500 (7-for-14) on the year.
The teams combined to use 11 pitchers in the second game, with Edwar Ramirez (2-0) picking up the win. He came on ito start the 12th inning and allowed just a hit and a walk while fanning four. Gerardo Casadiego earned the save with a scoreless 15th.
McNiven tossed a scoreless inning before running into trouble in the 15th for the Defenders (2-4).
Franklin, 56, managed his first game with the Geneva White Sox of the New York-Penn League in 1982. Before being hired by the Yankees, he spent 11 seasons as a roving infield instructor for the San Diego Padres. He last managed in 2000 for Triple-A Las Vegas.
Franklin said he's been enjoying the chance to build relationships with 24 players, instead of moving around an organization.
"I'm here with a group of guys who are really good players, working with good coaches, and it's a good organization," he said. "I was looking for a chance to get back into managing."
While the game was a memorable one for Franklin, his pitching staff extended its scoreless streak to 46 innings. It's the kind of streak that neither Franklin, nor pitching coach Scott Aldred can recall seeing before.
"This is pretty phenomenal streak right here and I can't remember having been in a situation like that with a pitching staff," said Franklin, who managed the Birmingham Barons to the 1991 Southern League Championship Series. "I've just sat back in the dugout and enjoyed watching these guys."
The streak began in the seventh inning of the Tuesday's 5-4, 12-inning win over Harrisburg.
Aldred, who pitched in 229 Major League games, has been quite satisfied with his 12-man staff.
"The pitchers are throwing the ball well, top to bottom," he said. "Our starting pitching has been good and our bullpen hasn't given up a run in six games. The pitching depth in this organization is strong, and it shows."
Aldred also said the cold weather to open the season has given pitchers an advantage over hitters, but he couldn't pinpoint a specific reason for the streak.
"I just think each individual that came into the game didn't want it to be him that allowed the other team to score," he said.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.