Birthday boy Santana paces Aeros

Catcher's four RBIs lead way to Opening Day win over Baysox

(Paul Connors/AP)

By Josh Jackson / Special to MLB.com | April 8, 2009 7:22 PM

Carlos Santana had reason to celebrate Wednesday, and he gave his teammates that as well.

The switch-hitting catcher marked his 23rd birthday with a three-run homer and a sacrifice fly en route to the Akron Aeros' season-opening 9-5 victory over the Bowie Baysox.

Santana set the tone with a three-run homer to right field in the first inning.

"Hitting a home run always feels good," Santana said. But he added that knocking one on Opening Day and his birthday made him "very, very happy."

He also plated Daniel Figueroa with a sacrifice to center in the fourth and singled in the sixth.

Santana, acquired by the Indians in the 2008 deal that sent Casey Blake to the Dodgers, is considered the best prospect in the Cleveland system. He had one hit in eight Eastern League at-bats last year, also a homer.

Akron's Carlos Rivero contributed a two-RBI single in the fourth inning and scored twice.

Hector Rondon (1-0), who went 11-6 in the Carolina League last season, allowed one run over 5 2/3 innings for the win. Randy Newsom snuffed out an eighth-inning Bowie rally and set down the side in a perfect ninth to earn the save.

Santana had no plans for a birthday party after the win, though.

"Right now it's about concentration for tomorrow," said Santana, referring to the Aeros' meeting with the Baysox on Thursday.

Brandon Snyder went 3-for-5 with two RBIs and Dave Krynzel ripped a two-run triple to right for Bowie. Miguel Abreu singled twice and scored two runs in the losing effort.

Right-hander Jason Berken (0-1) allowed three runs on two hits and four walks in three innings for the loss

Josh Jackson is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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