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Garcia goes from goat to hero

Spinners shortstop collects clutch hit at New York-Penn ASG
August 17, 2010
STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. -- Lowell Spinners shortstop Jose Garcia was feeling a bit down.

His fourth-inning throwing error on a ball hit by Joe Bonfe (Brooklyn) allowed Cory Vaughn (Brooklyn) and Miguel Alvarez (Williamsport) to score to give the National League a 3-1 lead at the New New York-Penn League All-Star Game at Richmond County Bank Park on Tuesday night.

That play loomed large until the bottom of the eighth, when the American League rallied for three runs -- capped off by Garcia's RBI single to left field -- en route to a 4-3 win in the midsummer classic.

"That was not a good throw," said the 19-year-old native of San Pedro de Macoris, Dominican Republic, who was signed by Boston in 2008. "This was my first All-Star Game and I am playing with Manhattan just across (the Narrows).

"I knew I had to play better."

Garcia has just eight RBIs in 38 regular-season games and has been mired in a .162 (6-for-37) slump in his last 10 games. But he emerged as the game's hero by driving home Trent Mummey (Aberdeen) with the eventual game-winning run to delight a sellout crowd of 7,177.

"I was glad I got the chance," said Garcia, who added that his season has had about as many "ups and downs" as the All-Star contest. "I was pleased I was able to play a key part in our win."

The hit made a winner out of Preston Claiborne (Staten Island) and saddled Ryan Fraser (Brooklyn) with the loss. It was set up by the American League's contingent from the New York-Penn's newest team, the Connecticut Tigers.

James Robbins greeted pitcher Chase Johnson (Williamsport), who came into the game as the league saves leader with 13, with a double to right. Tigers teammate Julio Rodriguez promptly singled to left.

P.J. Polk, also from Connecticut, grounded out to shortstop on a play that scored Robbins. Rodriguez stole third, Mummey worked a base on balls and National League manager Wally Backman replaced Johnson with Fraser.

"We all came here from Norwich (Connecticut) wanting to do something and we did," said Polk. "In an All-Star Game, you want to do something the fans will remember."

Fraser then walked Matt Perry, yet another Connecticut hitter. The Tigers' Ryan Enos cranked a long sacrifice fly to right that scored Rodriguez to knot the game and set the stage for Garcia's hit.

"We're all glad we played a played a part in this," said Perry. "We're playing in New York City. It was a thrill for our whole Connecticut delegation. Thanks to Jose for putting a cap on it."

Staten Island's Chase Whitley, second in the league with 11 saves, collected a pair of strikeouts in the top of the ninth to record the save.

Jed Weisberger is a contributor to