CENTRAL ISLIP, NY- It’s not in the Atlantic League charter that the Ducks must claim the most former major leaguers. It just seems that the club has stockpiled the most accomplished players since winning the 2004 championship.
Newark is now challenging the Ducks for the biggest names in the independent minor league, carrying 15 ex-big leaguers on the active roster compared the Flock’s 13. But pedigree didn’t mean much Tuesday night after the Ducks tagged Newark starter Shawn Chacon for three home runs in a 12-5 win over the Bears at Citibank Park.
Alex Prieto, a one-time Minnesota middle infielder, took the former Yankee Chacon deep for a fourth-inning three-run shot. Like Prieto, catcher John Pachot also picked up his first home run of the season, taking Chacon over the leftfield wall with one out in the sixth to break a 5-all tie.
The Ducks had a collective nine home runs through the first 21 games before generating a power surge.
“It’s nice to see the onslaught of hits,” Carter said. “It was our first three-homer game, which was really inspiring to me. That was the one area we were a little concerned with.”
Lew Ford continued his quest to shake off an early season slump, solo homer and a sixth-inning RBI double that provided a key insurance run as the
Ducks took the opener of the four-game set, improving to 13-9 while winning its second straight. Ford entered the game tied with a league lead in doubles and added his seventh two-bagger in a 4-5 effort with three runs scored and three RBIs.
“He’s capable of doing that and I think he was just adjusting,” Carter said. “He was with Colorado in the spring and then was let go and he went through the transition that he did; I think he’s starting to get a feel for this now. All of these guys want the opportunity to get back.”
The Ducks turned a potential save situation into a laugher via a five-run eighth inning in which10 batters came to the plate. Before the insurance run barrage, the Ducks bullpen limited a potent Newark lineup to just three runs in four innings after starter Randy Leek went just four innings.
Carter said Leek exited after giving up two runs in four innings because of a slight oblique muscle strained. Carter said Leek is day-to-day and might not even miss a start.
Former Duck Carl Everett went 2-4 with a run scored for Newark. Jake Dittler struggled in his Ducks debut, giving up three runs in 1 1/3 innings in relief of Leek. While the 6-4, 220-pound righty was hit hard, Carter said Dittler is in line to make a spot start for Leek or Ken Ray, who is still nursing a bruised thumb on his non-throwing hand after taking a line drive off it Sunday afternoon.
“That’s a bonus in our favor that we know we have a guy in our favor who can start,” Carter said.