Cyclones starter Andrew Church gave Brooklyn 6.1 strong innings, saving a torched bullpen, but his hitters could only muster 4 hits off of three Lake Monster hurlers, and our Boys of Summer lost their third straight, falling 2-1 at historic Centennial Field in beautiful Burlington, Vermont before 1,890 fans who came to celebrate the birthday of Champ, the mascot from the depths of Lake Champlain.
Vermont starter Bowdien “Bubba” Darby lowered his ERA from a ridiculous 1.02 to a microscopic 0.87 with three hitless innings, but did not qualify for the decision. It was obvious from the stat sheet that the A’s are treating Bubba with the same kid gloves that the Mets did with young Scott Kazmir many moons ago – in 7 appearances and 5 starts he has only pitched 20.2 innings. It was clear from the start that the Cyclones hitters would have a tough time catching up to his low 90’s fastballs (very easy to note on prominently placed pitch sign in right center).
Church’s only real trouble came in the 2nd, when he gave up half of the 6 hits he allowed. LF Brett Siddall led off with a single. Then Cyclones SS Alfredo Reyes hesitated a moment on 1B Chris Iriart’s grounder, which turned a potential double play into a force at second. In contrast to the four errors committed on Wednesday in Lowell it was a great improvement, but not quite enough, as C Nick Collins doubled Iriart home on an 0-2 pitch. CF Steven Pallares then tripled to right, bringing Collins home with the second run. Pallares was stranded at third.
The Cyclones finally managed their first two hits in the 5th off of reliever (and winner) Corey Miller. 1B Jeff Diehl reached on an error by 3B Ryan Howell, and advanced to second on LF Hengelbert Rojas’ one out single to left. DH Jose Garcia then dropped a single down the leftfield line, scoring Diehl, but a good throw cut down Rojas at third, while Garcia advanced to second on the throw. The rally was snuffed out when Garcia was inexplicably picked off of second by Miller – he was waaaay late siding back feet first.
Cyclones southpaw Carlos Valdez bailed Church out of a jam in the 7th, allowing Howell to advance to second on a groundout after Church ended his night’s work with a one out walk. Fellow lefty Ruben Reyes struck out the side in the 8th.
The Cyclones were able to get leadoff runners on in both the 8th and 9th off of John Gorman. Rojas walked on a 3-1 pitch well off the plate, an was replaced at first by Enmanuel Zabala, but the Cyclones could only get him to second. In the 9th 2B Vinny Siena singled to left to start off, RF Michael couldn’t quite get his opposite field fly over fellow right fielder Skye Bolt’s head. Manager Tom Gamboa then rolled the dice on an 0-2 pitch, sending Siena on a straight steal, but it came up snake-eyes when Collins nailed him by plenty at 2nd. 3B David Thompson then went down swinging on the next pitch, sending the Vermont faithful home happy.
In spite of the loss Brooklyn still is only 1/2 game out of first in the crowded McNamara due to the Baby Bombers’ 4-3 loss to the Hudson Valley Renegades in Staten Island. The Cyclones also trail the Spinners by 1/2 game for the wild card after Lowell dropped a 7-2 decision at home to the Connecticut Tigers.
The Cyclones play the 2nd of a 3 game set tonight on Summer of Love Night, with the 1st 500 fans receiving a tie-dyed baseball courtesy those groovy ice cream guys named Ben & Jerry.