BROOKLYN, N.Y. – During an afternoon when the parent club New York Mets only managed two hits in a 5-0 loss to the San Diego Padres – the seventh time they’ve been shutout this season – the Brooklyn Cyclones clubbed nine hits in an Opening Day 8-2 victory over the Staten Island Yankees Saturday at MCU Park in Coney Island.
The original Opening Day was rained out Friday night in Staten Island, so the Cyclones were able to treat 8,175 fans – nearly 700 more than the stadium’s 7,501 seating capacity – to a win in the opener. Brooklyn is now 11-3 all-time on Opening Day and 7-1 since 2007.
“I was pleasantly surprised with how good the guys handled it (the atmosphere),” said Cyclones’ manager Tom Gamboa, who is the 10th manager in franchise history.
The Cyclones wasted very little time before providing some offensive punch. With one out in the bottom of the second inning, right fielder Michael Bernal hit an RBI double over the third base bag, and left fielder Joe Tuschak followed with an RBI double of his own to right field to give Brooklyn a 2-0 lead.
The team scored two more runs in the bottom of the third, when catcher Tomas Nido – who struggled offensively in Brooklyn last year to the tune of a .185 batting average – drove a two-strike, two-RBI triple to right center field.
“The first two pitches I swung at weren’t good pitches, but then he (Yankees’ starting pitcher David Palladino) went with a fastball up in the zone,” said the 20-year-old backstop. “I put a good swing on it, and I helped the team get a couple of runs.”
The theme of two runs per inning continued for the Cyclones in the bottom of the fourth, as 18-year-old shortstop Amed Rosario drove in a run on a groundout prior to a run scoring on a wild pitch.
Leading 6-0, it was almost a given that Cyclones’ starter Octavio Acosta, a righty from Sinola, Mexico, would be able to complete the fifth inning to qualify for the win. The start made Acosta the oldest Opening Day starting pitcher in Cyclones’ history at 24 years, three months and four days. This is his fifth season in the Mets organization and he struck out a career-high 50 batters in 52.2 innings last year split between Gulf Coast and St. Lucie.
Acosta, who finished with seven strikeouts, had very little trouble through the first four innings but labored in the fifth. He recorded two outs in the frame but hit Yankees’ right fielder Austin Aune with the bases loaded to plate a run.
Cyclones’ righty reliever Brandon Welch entered the game in a huge jam with the bases still loaded, but he was able to induce a fly ball out to end the threat – though a routine play was turned into an adventure, as Tuschak was forced to make a diving catch after a miscommunication between him and center fielder Tucker Tharp.
“It was a little scary, but I was just happy he (Tuschak) caught it,” said Welch, who has only appeared in seven games the past two seasons. “It’s fun to pitch in situations like that. It just gives you momentum; it gets your adrenaline pumping more and more.”
Brooklyn was back at it offensively in the bottom of the seventh. Third baseman Jhoan Ureña blooped an RBI double to right, and he later scored on a passed ball.
Welch turned in 2.1 innings of scoreless relief to pick up the victory after allowing no hits and two walks. Lefty Shane Bay came on for the final two innings, and he gave up a run on three hits.
Ureña finished the day 2-for-3 with an RBI and a walk, while Nido was also 2-for-3 with two RBI and a walk on the day.
“All in all, a lot of good things did happen tonight,” Gamboa said. “It’s always nice to open with a win in front of the home crowd. From the fans’ standpoint, I think they got what they came to see tonight.”
The Cyclones will play a doubleheader Sunday in Staten Island. Game 1 of the twin bill starts at 4 p.m., and tall right-hander Casey Meisner will take the mound for Brooklyn.
Click here to view the complete box score from this game.