Brooklyn took the lead in the race for the Wild Card with its ninth straight win, beating Aberdeen on Monday, 5-2. The win moves the Cyclones (43-28) a half-game ahead of Jamestown (42-28), who lost on Monday, with six games to play.
Brad Holt (5-3) gave Brooklyn another outstanding outing on Labor Day, allowing two runs on two hits, while striking out 12 in just 5.2 innings, to increase his league-leading strikeout total to 96. Holt's K total also sets a new individual single-season record for the Cyclones, topping the previous mark of 93, set by Kevin Deaton in 2002. Holt (pictured, by George Napolitano) now has a 1.87 ERA in his first professional season.
Holt was relieved by Matias Carrillo and Yury Santana, who held the IronBirds scoreless over the final 3.1 innings. Santana picked up his team-high 13th save of the season by striking out four batters in one inning, when his third victim of the ninth inning reached base due to a wild pitch.
Kirk Nieuwenhuis led the Brooklyn offense, with a 3-for-5 day at the plate. Nieuwenhuis -- who leads the team in virtually every offensive category -- belted a home run, scored twice, and drove in three runs in the winning effort.
After trailing 1-0 in the first inning, the Cyclones plated four runs in the top of the second and never looked back. Sean Ratliff put Brooklyn on the board with an RBI single before Nieuwenhuis' three-run blast. In the fifth inning, the Cyclones tacked on another run when Nieuwenhuis singled, stole second, and was driven in by Juan Lagares.
Brooklyn remains three games behind Staten Island in the McNamara Division, with five games left to play, but now leads the race for the Wild Card by a half-game. The Cyclones return home on September 4th at 7 pm to face the Hudson Valley Renegades. On Thursday, fans will receive a Cyclones' Team Photo.
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