BUFFALO 6 – SYRACUSE 4
By Pete Shapiro
The Bisons stampeded into Syracuse on Friday for a 3-game set with the Chiefs, and by the time the dust had settled the Herd had stuck Syracuse with a 6-4 loss, their 5th straight and 9th in their last ten games. In doing so the Herd reached .500 with a 8-8 record and pulled into a tie for third place in the International League North, 3.0 games out of first. Matt Harvey (1-1) threw his first quality start of the season and picked up his first win of 2012 by tossing 6 innings and giving up 3 runs on 4 hits and 3 walks. The Mets’ most advanced pitching prospect also put up the kind of strikeout numbers everyone has been waiting for by fanning 10 Chiefs on the night.
Harvey’s effort was backed by a strong showing from the bullpen as three Bison pitchers combined to throw 3 innings of one run, two-hit ball. Righty Dylan Owen pitched the seventh, giving up one run, set-up man Justin Hampson tossed a perfect eighth with nothing across, and Fernando Cabrera closed it out in the ninth, three up, three down for his 4th save.
Valentino Pascucci started off the night offensively for the Herd with his 6th HR, a solo shot to left-field in the first inning, to make the score 1-0. Portland came back in the bottom-half of the inning with a two-run homer by 1B Tyler Moore, his 6th of the year, to put the Chiefs out in front by a score of 2-1.
Buffalo answered in the top-of-the-third inning on a Jordany Valdespin single, followed by a ground-ball out that moved Valdespin to second. Then with two-out, Val Pascucci blooped a singled to left to drive in Spin and knot the game at 2. In the fourth, it was a two-out, two-run rally by the Herd that would ultimately become the turning point of the game and make the score 4-2 Buffalo.
After two were out, catcher Rob Johnson doubled. Omar Quintanilla was intentionally walked to bring pitcher Matt Harvey to the plate. Harvey foiled the Syracuse strategy by hitting a soft single into right-field to score Johnson, and move Quintanilla to second. A Valdespin single would plate Quintanilla to make it 4-2. In the fifth, Raul Reyes was called on to pinch-hit for Adam Loewen with two-outs and Vinny Rottino the runner on first. Reyes’ pinch double would score Rottino to make it 5-2.
Syracuse would score single runs off Harvey in the 6th, and Owen in the seventh, to bring the score to within one at 5-4. But Rob Johnson would cap the scoring for the night, by adding a big insurance run in the top-of-the eighth inning. With one out, Johnson came to the plate with reliever Atahualpa Severino on the mound. Johnson took Severino deep, mashing his first HR of the season out beyond the RF fence, and securing the victory for Buffalo 6-4.
Herd Rumblings: Valdespin is starting to heat up at the plate. In his last two games he is 5 for 9 with a walk, 2 runs scored, a HR, and 2 RBI’s. Val Pascucci has a six-game hitting streak working, and has 5 RBI’s in his last three games. 2B Bobby Scales failed to reach base in the game for the first time this season, going 0 for 5 with a pair of strikeouts. Closer Fernando Cabrera has been nothing short of brilliant so far this year. In seven appearances he has given up just one run (in a non-save opportunity) and his record stands at 1-0 1.13 ERA, with 4 saves. Game two of the three-game set in Syracuse, is slated for a 2 pm start time on Saturday. Buffalo will send right-hander Jeurys Familia to the mound for his fourth start of the season. So far “Family” has gotten off to a slow start, struggling with his command in each of his previous outings. His record presently stands at 1-1 with a 6.59 ERA. In his last outing against Lehigh Valley he pitched very poorly, surrendering 6 hits, and 6 walks, and 6 ER’s, in just 4 innings and taking a devil of a loss. With luck Familia will start to show signs of turning it around much the same as Harvey did on Friday.
BINGHAMTON 7 – PORTLAND 5
By Tim Burns
The fireworks display after the game at NYSEG stadium wasn’t the only explosions at Henry and Fayette in Binghamton on Friday night. An offensive outburst by both the Binghamton Mets and visiting Portland Sea Dogs resulted in another win for the home team by a score of 7-5.
Second baseman Josh Rodriguez led the hit parade for the home team, with three hits and three runs scored, including a home run over the left field wall in the bottom of the third. Matt den Dekker had a single and double in the game in five at bats, and third baseman Jefry Marte had two doubles for the B-Mets as well. Juan Lagares hit safely for the fourth game in a row with a single off of Portland starter Chris Balcom-Miller in the bottom of the first.
Binghamton starter Greg Peavey lasted 3 2/3, giving up five runs on eight hits, while striking out two Sea Dogs batters. Eric Turgeon replaced Peavey in the fourth, and after pitching the fifth and sixth innings as well was the winning pitcher for the B-Mets. Turgeon allowed only one hit in his outing, striking out two and walking one. Robert Carson pitched the seventh for the Mets and earned his second hold of the 2012 season, while Josh Edgin pitched the final two innings for his second save of the year.
B-Mets Buzz: The win brought the B-Mets to .500 on the season, with a 7-7 record, tied for third place in the EL’s Eastern Division. For the second night in a row the B-Mets set a new high for single game attendance in 2012 as 3,557 passed through the turnstiles. In game three of the series on Saturday afternoon, LHP Mark Cohoon (0-2, 3.27) will look for his first win of the season against the Sea Dogs Chris Martin (0-2, 6.14).
ST. LUCIE – PALM BEACH (Suspended Rain)
By Pete Shapiro
The Friday night game between the St. Lucie Mets and Palm Beach Cardinals was suspended due to rain. The game has been rescheduled as part of a double-header on Saturday, beginning at 4 pm. The Cardinals lead 2-0 entering the top of the second inning after scoring a pair of runs, on three hits off of Mets starter Yohan Almonte. If the Mets choose to change pitchers and not send Almonte back out to the mound, they would likely use Ryan Fraser, or perhaps Taylor Whitenton to resume the suspended game. LHP Angel Cuan will pitch the regularly scheduled game that follows.
Lucie Logistics: Riding a 6-game winning streak, and sitting atop the FSL Southern Division Standings by a 4.5 game margin, St. Lucie manager Ryan Ellis has his team off and flying high this season with a record so far of 11-2. As a team St. Lucie hitters rank second in the league in: OBP, SLG, OPS, and fewest strikeouts. The team pitching is ranked first in the league in: ERA (1.65), WHIP (1.02), fewest walks given up, fewest hits surrendered, and of course earned runs. As a staff, they have only allowed one home run all season, in more than 114 innings, the best rate in all of minor league baseball.
HICKORY 5 – SAVANNAH 2
By Joe DeCaro
Domingo Tapia started for the Gnats last night and struggled early on, but settled down and pitched solidly the rest of the way to keep his team in the game. Tapia ended up tossing 5.2 innings and allowed just two runs on six hits and fanned nine batters while walking only one. He pitched good enough to win and his ERA is at 2.55 for the season.
The Gnats would respond back in the first inning after second baseman Brandon Brown singled, advanced to third and scored the Gnats first run after T.J. Rivera grounded into a double play.
In the seventh inning, after left fielder Dustin Lawley singled and stole second, sac flies by Brian Harrison and Travis Taijeron allowed him to score the Gnats second and final run of the game.
Gnat relievers Estarlin Morel and T.J. Chrism held the fort down and combined for 5.1 shutout innings while striking out 12 batters. But alas, in came right-hander Jared West who struggled mightily and took the loss after he allowed three runs to cross the plate in the top of the 13th inning. The Gnats went quietly into the night after that.
Gnats Gnotes: Check this out, last night Savannah pitchers struck out an amazing 23 batters… That’s incredible. Domingo Tapia has struck out 20 batters while walking 2 this season for a 10:1 K/BB ratio. With last night’s loss, the Gnats have lost games back to back for the first time this season. Lets not make a habit out of this guys. Tyler Pill takes the mound as the Gnats and Crawdads play game three of their four-game set tonight at 6:05 PM.