Brooklyn, NY -- Jun 24, 2017 -- Gunnar Kines was in a groove until fifth inning. With the game tied at two, Kines had retired 10 of the last 13 batters faced before the dreaded fifth frame. For the 2017 iteration of the Brooklyn Cyclones, getting out of the fifth inning unscathed has been a rarity, and Saturday night was no different.
“(Kines) did a great job,” Cyclones manager Edgardo Alfonzo said. “It’s too bad we didn’t back him up with runs. You always want to see more production. You have to give credit to their pitcher.”
With a runner on and no outs, Hudson Valley Renegades third baseman Bill Pujols blasted a two-run homerun over the left field wall to give the visitors a 4-2 lead. The very next pitch was smoked down the left field line to put a runner on second. Three batters later, a bobbled ground ball allowed Hudson Valley to push the lead to three.
Prior to tonight’s game, Cyclone pitchers have given up eight runs in the fifth inning through four games. After tonight, you can add three more runs to that total. The dire fifth proved the difference in the Cyclones (2-3) 10-4 loss to the Renegades (3-2). The Cyclones failed to score at least for runs for the first time this season. went 1-13 with RISP, got caught stealing twice and was picked off once.
“We can do better as an offense,” Alfonzo said. “But it is what it is. We can come through more often. That’s the key for us.”
In the second and third innings, the Cyclones put five runners on base but failed to bring anyone home. Cyclone batters even struck out three times to kill any prospective rally. In the bottom of the third with the bases loaded, Jose Miguel Medina worked a 3-1 count and watched a ball zoom past the inner half of the plate and thought it was ball four. He took two steps towards first, before home plate umpire Jennifer Pawol singled for strike two. Medina stared and hung his head before picking his bat off the ground. The next pitch, Medina sent a chopper to short and was thrown out at first to end the inning.
The next frame, the scene looked familiar. Two outs, bases loaded and Walter Rasquin was at the plate. With the end of his bat, the Cyclone second baseman poked one past the outstretched glove of Renegade shortstop Deion Tansel and the Cyclones had their first two runs of the night. That was, of course, before the infamous fifth inning.
In the bottom of the seventh, the Cyclones made things interesting. With runners on second and third, Dylan Snypes grounded out but brought in the Cyclones’ third run of the game. Catcher Carlos Sanchez grounded out and Reed Gamache struck out to end the threat.
The 7,016 fans in attendance were eagerly anticipating fireworks after the game, but the Renegades provided a show of their own. Hudson Valley, first in the New York-Penn League in slugging (.496), second in average (.305), and fourth in hits (43), hit four two-run home runs and 14 hits. The offensive outburst marked the third time since 2004 that the Cyclones gave up at least four home runs in a single game.
Brooklyn will look to get back on track tomorrow in the second game of this three-game, weekend set.
“We need a better approach at home plate,” Alfonzo restated. “Overall we played OK. Hopefully, those guys understand what it means to have a good at-bat. Little things like that are going to be huge for us.”
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