It took them 14 games to do it, but the Toronto Maple Leafs are finally on their first two-game winning streak of the season.
Branfy Arias homered and drove in three runs and Marek Deska pitched 6 2/3 solid innings as the Leafs edged the London Majors 6-5 Sunday afternoon at Dominico Field at Christie Pits, giving the Leafs their second win in as many days.
Toronto (5-9) has struggled all season, but the modest winning streak lifted the Leafs into a tie for seventh place in the Intercounty Baseball League standings and put Toronto 1 ½ games ahead of the last place Hamilton Cardinals.
“It’s hard to believe we haven’t been able to put two wins together all season, but we saw some good signs in the last two games,” Leaf owner Jack Dominico said. “We had better pitching and caught a few breaks for a change, so we may finally be getting things going here.”
The Leafs certainly hope so, as they face the Ottawa Fat Cats Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. at Dominico Field at Christie Pits with a chance to move into a tie for sixth place with a win.
Arias hit a two-run homer to tie the game at 2-2 in the third and added a run-scoring single as part of a four-run fourth, as the Leafs scored all their runs in just two innings and made the most of just six hits.
Deska (3-1) allowed three runs – just one earned – on six hits with five strikeouts and three walks before giving way to reliever Brett Lawson, who picked up the save despite a nervous ninth inning. He allowed two runs on two hits with four strikeouts and two walks.
Lead-off hitter Glenn Jackson did his usual good job of getting on base, scoring a pair of runs with a single, a walk and a hit by pitch, while driving in another. The rest of the Leafs bats were pretty silent, but they built a 6-2 lead after four innings and managed to hang on.
London starter Jordi Amargos (3-1) didn’t have his best stuff, allowing six runs on six hits with two strikeouts and five walks over his five innings. Mike Henry kept the Majors (7-5) in the game with three perfect innings of relief, striking out four.
Cleveland Brownlee had a huge game for the Majors, hitting a two-run homer in the ninth to bring London to within a run. He wound up going 4-for-5 with three RBI and two runs scored to pace London’s eight-hit attack.
The Majors saw their three-game winning streak snapped. They’ll host the Burlington Twins in a School Day game Tuesday at 11 a.m.
Toronto is also in Hamilton on Friday and hosts the Brantford Red Sox next Sunday at 2 p.m.