BROOKLYN, N.Y. – It was a long night of baseball Wednesday at MCU Park in Coney Island, but the Brooklyn Cyclones emerged in a better position than when the night started.
The Cyclones (31-28) split a seven-inning doubleheader against the Lowell Spinners, the Single-A short season affiliate of the Boston Red Sox, both by a score of 3-2.
A walkoff single by Jhoan Ureña in extra innings of the second game gave Brooklyn a needed win after dropping the first contest. The split, coupled with the Connecticut Tigers getting swept in a doubleheader, brings the Cyclones within a half game of the Wild Card lead in the New York-Penn League (NYPL).
The 19-year-old Ureña finished the day 3-for-7 with three RBI. After hitting safely in both games, the All-Star third baseman now has a nine-game hitting streak. He’s also the only player in the NYPL to play in all 59 games this season.
Defense was a bit of a problem for the Cyclones in the doubleheader, as the team committed four errors. All five Spinners’ runs were scored due to an error that started or prolonged a rally. Ureña made an error in Game 2, which led to the tying run scoring, but he rebounded two innings later to plate the winning run.
“I just moved past it,” Ureña said of the error. “It was an error, it happens. I just kept my head up, and all I could think about was the game now. I couldn’t think about the past.”
Brooklyn mounted a rally in the final inning of Game 1, but with the tying and winning runs on base, Mets’ first-round draft pick Michael Conforto struck out swinging on a ball he fouled tipped into the catcher’s glove. He’s cooled off with the bat slightly but is still hitting .319 (30-for-94) on the season.
In Game 2, Martires Arias turned in another solid effort in his second start for the Cyclones since being called up from Kingsport. His first start (6.0 shutout innings with six strikeouts) earned him NYPL Pitcher of the Week honors last week.
The 6-foot, 8-inch righty from the Dominican Republic turned in two scoreless innings to start the game, which ran his scoreless innings streak between Kingsport and Brooklyn to 24.0 innings, but he surrendered a run in the top of third inning.
He was lifted after 5.1 innings, giving up five hits and two runs (both earned) while walking none and striking out seven.
“We’re very pleasantly surprised with how good his (Arias) command is,” said Cyclones’ manager Tom Gamboa. “I think he did a terrific job. We’re real proud of him, and I think he’s shown tremendous poise and composure here.”
All-Star shortstop Amed Rosario also had a solid day at the plate, collecting three hits, two walks and three run scored. He led off the eighth inning of Game 2 with a single to right field and scored the game-winning run on Ureña’s walkoff hit.
With less than 20 games to go, the playoff race should be intense down the stretch.
“It looks like it’s going to go right down the wire,” Gamboa said. “If we would have lost two tonight, that would have really, really hurt.”
The Cyclones return to action Thursday night at MCU Park looking for a sweep over the Spinners. Righty Corey Oswalt (5-1, 2.84 ERA), who was selected to Tuesday’s All-Star Game, takes the mound to close out the series.
Click here to view the complete box score from these games.