BROOKLYN, N.Y. – In a game that featured three wild pitches in the same inning leading to a critical run, it was a fitting end that the Brooklyn Cyclones earned a victory on a walkoff bases-loaded hit-by-pitch.
The Cyclones (40-31) needed 11 innings to defeat the Staten Island Yankees 3-2 at MCU Park in Coney Island Wednesday night, but the win keeps Brooklyn 2.0 games ahead of the Connecticut Tigers in the Wild Card race with five games left to play.
Brooklyn rebounded from a rough patch in the middle of the season to now be 25-12 over its last 37 games and has outscored its opponents 169-116 in that stretch. Not surprisingly, this stretch coincides with the addition of Mets’ first-round draft pick Michael Conforto to the lineup.
Conforto was 4-for-5 Wednesday night with a run scored. The team is now 18-2 when he scores at least one run. The first rounder now has 16 multi-hit games this season, including five in his last seven games.
“This was a huge one for us,” said Cyclones’ manager Tom Gamboa. “They all are at this stage of the game. You can’t say enough about our pitching, which has been good all year.”
Right-hander Scarlyn Reyes made his sixth start of the season, and after surrendering a first-inning run, he settled in nicely over the next five frames.
With the Cyclones leading 2-1 in top of seventh, Reyes wound up striking out the side. However, after giving up a leadoff single, he threw three wild pitches, allowing the tying-run to come around easily.
Reyes finished with seven strikeouts in 7.0 innings but was tagged with a no-decision.
Both teams couldn’t muster anything offensively over the next four innings. Cyclones’ lefty relievers Kelly Secrest, Shane Bay and Brad Wieck turned in another dominant combined relief effort to keep Brooklyn in the game.
The Cyclones loaded the bases in the bottom of the 11th inning with only one out. To that point, the team had struggled all game with runners in scoring position.
But it was the 18-year-old Amed Rosario who was hit by a pitch to force in the winning run.
Brooklyn heads upstate Thursday to open a three-game game series against the Tri-City Valleycats, the Single-A short season affiliate of the Houston Astros. Martires Arias takes the ball for Brooklyn looking to improve upon his 2-0 record with a 1.10 ERA. Game time is 7 p.m.
The Cyclones control their own destiny with five games to play. If the team can hold on, the first round of the New York-Penn League playoffs would open Wednesday, Sept. 2 at MCU Park.
“We’re two up with five to play,” Gamboa said. “We just have to keep playing.”
Click here to view the complete box score from this game.