Photo Courtesy of George Napolitano
August 25 -- Troy, NY -- After losing a heartbreaker last night, the Brooklyn Cyclones (36-28) bounced back, defeating the Tri-City ValleyCats (30-36) by a score of 7-4. Starter Jeff Walters (3-6, 3.45) allowed nine hits in 5.0 innings of work, but did not walk anyone and routinely escaped jams. The righthander yielded three runs and struck out four en route to picking up the win. With a 2-1 loss by Williamsport earlier tonight, Brooklyn is now tied for the Wild Card spot in terms of games, but lead by .002 points in terms of winning percentage because they have played two less games than the 'Cutters. With Staten Island's rain out, the ‘Clones also picked up a 0.5 game in the McNamara Division and now are just 4.0 games behind the Yanks.
The Cyclones struck early for a run, taking a 1-0 lead in the top of the first. After Danny Muno led off with a double, he was moved up to second on a walk and then over to third on a wild pitch. A fielding error by the Tri-City shortstop with two outs allowed Muno to score the first run of the game.
The ValleyCats, however, answered right back with a run of their own in the bottom of the inning. With a runner on second and one out, shortstop Danny Muno threw wide of first base, allowing the ValleyCat on second to take two bases and tie the game at 1-1. But Walters induced an inning-ending double play to escape further damage.
The double play became Walters’ best friend, as the righthander was able to escape trouble in the third and fourth innings with two more inning-ending double plays.
Brooklyn broke the game open in the top of the fifth, sending eight men to the plate in a four-run inning, all of which came with two outs. Brandon Brown and Richard Lucas ignited the rally with back-to-back doubles to give the Cyclones a 2-1 lead. A groundball by Cole Frenzel was then botched by the ValleyCats second baseman to allow Lucas to score Brooklyn’s third run and keep the inning going. With Brian Harrison at the plate, Frenzel was moved into scoring position on a wild pitch. After Harrison drew a walk, both he and Frenzel were plated on a triple by Tillman Pugh. The three-bagger was his first as a Cyclone and gave the team a 5-1 lead.
But Tri-City didn’t go down easy, striking for two runs in the bottom of the frame. However, Walters dug deep once again to escape further damage. After four consecutive two-out singles pushed the score to 5-3 and loaded the bases, Walters struck out Miles Hamblin swinging to end the fifth inning.
Brooklyn got a run back in the top of the sixth. After Carlos Leyva led off with a walk, he was moved up to third on Muno’s second base hit of the night. Muno was then forced out at second on a groundball by Charley Thurber, but Leyva came in to score on the play to give the Cyclones a 6-3 lead.
The Cyclones used small-ball in the top of the eighth to extend their lead to four runs. With Pugh on third and no outs, Leyva laid down a bunt for a suicide squeeze. Pugh came in to score, giving Brooklyn a 7-3 lead, and Leyva was safe at first as the ValleyCats failed to cover.
LHP T.J. Chism worked a 1-2-3 seventh inning, but yielded a one-out single in the eighth and was removed in favor of RHP Nicholas Carr. Carr promptly allowed a walk, but was able to induce an infield fly out from the next batter. With two outs and runners on first and second, Jacke Healey doubled off the right field wall to drive in a run, cutting Brooklyn’s lead to three runs. However, the inning was ended on a spectacular relay throw to the plate. Rightfielder Charley Thurber threw a rope to shortstop Muno, who then fired home to catcher Amauris Valdes, who applied the tag for the third out of the inning.
Tri-City threatened again in the bottom of the ninth. A one-out walk was followed up with a single to put two runners on and bring the tying-run to the plate. However, Carr settled down to induce a strikeout and a fly out to record his first save and give Brooklyn a 7-4 victory.
The Cyclones will head home to play the Hudson Valley Renegades in a doubleheader starting at 6 p.m. tomorrow, Friday, August 26. Because of the threat Hurricane Irene presents to the weather, Sunday’s game has been cancelled and will be made up as part of Friday’s doubleheader. Both games will be seven innings. LHP Chris Hilliard (3-1, 3.33) will pitch the first game and RHP Randy Fontanez (0-2, 3.56) will take the hill for the second game. There will be post-game fireworks and the first 3,000 fans in attendance will receive a FREE Metrocard presented by Verizon Wireless. Tickets are still available and can be purchased by calling 718-507-TIXX, visiting the MCU Park box office, or logging onto BrooklynCyclones.com.
Written by Ryan Gilbert