Finally, a Brooklyn Cyclones that did not include a rain delay or extra innings…
The Cyclones continued their climb to the .500 mark on the season with a 7-5 victory Wednesday night at MCU Park in Coney Island over the Mahoning Valley Scrappers – the Single-A short season affiliate of the Cleveland Indians.
Brooklyn moves to 13-16 on the season. It was Nintendo night at the ballpark, and there were times where it seemed like the Cyclones hitters had the “turbo” button working. But after the Cyclones jumped out to the lead, they allowed the Scrappers to claw back into the game.
“It was good to have a little cushion,” said Cyclones’ manager Rich Donnelly. “Thank goodness we had one because the second half of the game we didn’t do so well.”
The Cyclones pounded 12 hits, including a three-hit, two-RBI performance by second baseman L.J. Mazzilli, who extended his hitting streak to seven games. In the month of July, Mazzilli is batting .417 on 25-of-60.
“I’m just starting to feel good up there again,” Mazzilli said. “I’m just trying to stay within and not try to do too much. I’m trying to simplify it up there and see the ball in my zone and then put a good swing on it.”
Mazzilli helped Brooklyn get on the board in the first inning with an RBI double to right center that plated center fielder Patrick Biondi, who led off the game with a double down the left field line.
The Cyclones did the bulk of their damage in the bottom of third inning by plating five runs, three of which were unearned, by batting around and relying on two key Scrappers’ errors.
Third baseman Anthony Chavez led off the inning with a single to right field, and Biondi was then hit by a pitch. Shortstop Juan Gamboa dropped a sacrifice bunt, but Scrappers’ pitcher Harold Guerrero committed an error on the throw to plate Chavez.
Mazzilli followed with a sacrifice fly, and designated hitter Alex Sanchez later drove in a run with a single to left. Right fielder Eris Peguero capped the scoring with an infield single that took a tough hop past Scrappers’ second baseman Paul Hendrix – allowing two more runs to score.
In the bottom of the sixth, Gamboa – not exactly known for his bat – launched his first home run of the season into the front row of the right field bleachers. It was the first home run for the Cyclones this season at MCU Park. After hitting home runs in their first two games of the season, the Cyclones have managed only three long balls in the last 27 games, placing them last in home runs in the New York-Penn League.
Right-hander Seth Lugo started for the Cyclones and earned his second win of the season. He tossed 5.1 innings, giving up two runs on five hits while walking three and striking out three.
The Scrappers scored two runs in the top of the seventh off Cyclones’ reliever Kevin McGowan, but the righty rebounded to allow only one run over the final two frames to pick up his first save of the season.
None of the Brooklyn pitchers could figure out how to retire Scrappers’ first baseman Nellie Rodriguez. Rodriguez finished the game 4-for-5 with a single, double, two home runs and drove in all five Mahoning Valley runs.
Over the past week, the Cyclones’ have fluctuated between a win and a loss and can’t seem to get on a winning streak. Wednesday’s victory increases the winning streak to two, and Donnelly hopes that can continue.
“The thing that will do that is good pitching,” Donnelly said. “If you throw strikes and catch the ball, I think you’ll do fine.”
The Cyclones are back in action Thursday night against these same Scrappers at 7 p.m. Lefty Dario Alvarez (1-1, 4.91 ERA) takes the hill for Brooklyn.
Click here to view the complete box score from this game.