Erie slugger gets big hit for West

Erie outfielder Steven Moya had a week to remember.

Last Wednesday, he was part of a 9-3-6 triple play in the seventh inning of the SeaWolves 6-4 win over the Curve.

Sunday afternoon, the Puerto Rico native was at Target Field in Minneapolis as part of the MLB All-Star Futures Game, playing for the World squad. That day, he played with or against Western Division teammates Michael Taylor from Harrisburg and Akron’s Francisco Lindor.

Wednesday night he hit the game-deciding grand slam in the fifth to lead the Eastern League’s Western Division All-Stars to a 5-2 win over the Eastern Division All-Stars before 6,055 fans at Peoples Natural Gas Field.

“It’s been great spending time with so many guys that I knew from old times,” Moya said. “The (MLB) Futures Game is an important event. It was a great opportunity, one of those things that you go to once in a lifetime. Then come here and spend time with these guys is pretty amazing.”

Moya had an early idea of how his at bat would go, before smacking the long ball to right field.

“In the at bat where I hit the grand slam, I would just think ok, I’m going get one strike, because (Dustin Antolin) was going throw me a fast ball,” Moya said. “I did a get fast ball for a strike, second pitch I thought, ok, I was going to battle and he threw me a fast ball and I stood up to it.”

Moya is rated as the Detroit Tigers best power hitter and outfield arm in their system, according to Baseball America. The undrafted free-agent signed back in 2008, is part of the Tigers 40-man roster.

The SeaWolves outfielder is currently batting .264, with a career-high 22 home runs, 75 RBIs, 24 doubles, and 96 hits.

Moya has also stolen a career high 12 bases, and is on pace to break his professional-best .288 batting average, set back in 2012 with West Michigan of the Midwest League.

This is the second time he was selected to a league All-Star game, including the Midwest League in 2012. He has even come back from Tommy Surgery in the same year.

Portland’s Derrik Gibson led the way for the Eastern Division, going 2-for-3 with a solo home run to start the scoring in the third, and a triple in the eighth. He scored on a groundout by New Hampshire’s Jon Berti to end the scoring in the eighth.

Taylor drove in the only other Western Division run on a single scoring Curve shortstop, Alen Hanson.

Hanson reached on a walk, and scored twice. Leftfielder Willy Garcia was the only Curve player to register a base hit.

The Curve’s Ryan Beckman was credited with the win after allowing back-to-back hits in the fifth, and struckout two of the next three batters.

New Hampshire’s Dustin Antolin took the loss, giving up the grand slam to Moya, on two hits, walked two, and struckout one.

Reliever Kenn Kasparek, also from the Curve, pitched the ninth, retiring the side in order, with two strikeouts before picking up the save. He was named to the roster after Adrian Sampson was pulled last week because his next start is tonight.

Game Recap

Key Player: Erie RF Steven Moya hit a grand slam in the fourth inning, giving the Western Division the win.

Key Play: Moya’s home run was the game-deciding play.

Key Stat: The win (Ryan Beckman) and save (Kenn Kasparek) both went to Curve pitchers.

How They Scored

Top 3rd: Gibson homered (0-1).

Bot 3rd: Hanson reached on error, scored on Taylor single (1-1).

Bot 5th: Hanson walked, Garcia singled, Lindor walked, scored on Moya grand slam (5-1).

Top 8th: Gibson tripled, scored on Berti groundout (5-2).