The Brooklyn Cyclones have only scored three runs in the past two games.
Yet it’s resulted in two wins.
The Cyclones earned a 2-1 win Thursday night over the Staten Island Yankees to remain a half-game in first place ahead of the Aberdeen Ironbirds, who also won Thursday.
In front of a packed house at MCU Park in Coney Island celebrating the 100th anniversary of the opening of Ebbets Field – the former Mecca of Brooklyn baseball – Miller Diaz, who started the New York-Penn League All-Star Game earlier this summer, tossed six shutout innings to picked up his sixth win of the season, which ties him with John Gant for the team lead.
After not even hitting the ball out of the infield in Wednesday’s night win, the Cyclones did not exactly excel offensively in this one either. But a first-inning RBI double by second baseman Ismael Tijerina over the third-base bag put Brooklyn ahead 1-0.
Tijerina was filling in for All-Star and Cyclones’ leading hitter L.J. Mazzilli, who was given the night off to rest his injured hand that he’s been dealing with for a while.
“It was good for me to get the chance and enjoy the game,” Tijerina said. “It was awesome for me.”
Diaz had a bit of trouble keeping his pitch count down, but he still managed to strike out nine batters in his six innings while giving up just one hit and no runs. Cyclones’ starters have only allowed five runs in 42.1 innings over the last six games.
“Miller pitched another good game,” manager Rich Donnelly said. “He wasted a lot of pitches. He’s throwing six or seven extra pitches to each guy. As he progresses, when he gets a guy 1-2, put the guy away. But where he came from in spring training, I’m very happy with his performance.”
Brooklyn added an insurance run in the bottom of the third on an RBI fielder’s choice by first baseman Alex Sanchez, plating Tijerina who led off the frame with a single.
The Cyclones’ bullpen of Cameron Griffin, Juan Urbina and Johnny Magliozzi combined to close out the game, with Magliozzi picking up his eighth save. An unearned run was charged to Griffin in the top of the eighth on a play Tijerina almost made up the middle.
Tijerina redeemed himself in the top of ninth by starting a game-ending double play. It was the second straight game in which the Cyclones ended the game by turning two.
“He (Tijerina) came back,” Donnelly said. “He got a couple of hits and made a nice play on the double play to end the game. That’s what baseball’s about. You have to have instant amnesia. Whatever you do, you have to be ready to go again.”
The Cyclones head to Staten Island Friday night to close out the two-game series with the Yankees. But the all-important two-game homestand against the Ironbirds is looming for Saturday and Sunday.
“We just have to do what we can control like winning,” Tijerina said. “We don’t have to care about the other team. We just need to keep going like we are playing, and we’ll be OK.”
Click here to view the complete box score from this game.