Another Gem From Gee Not Enough, Cyclones Fall 1-0 in Extra Innings
by: Patrick Hickey, Jr. | Senior Writer - NY Sports Day | Saturday, July 28, 2007

BROOKLYN, NY- After last night’s game at Batavia was cancelled due to inclement weather, Brooklyn was looking for the gray skies to clear up so they could get a game in and notch their 26th win of the season.

However, another amazing performance from starter Dillon Gee wouldn’t be enough, as the Mets Single-A affiliate was shutout by Vermont 1-0 in extra innings and would have to deal with a potentially serious injury to their star player, J.R. Voyles.

Giving up only two earned runs in his last three starts, Dillon Gee continued to marvel on the mound tonight, keeping the Lake Monsters scoreless through five innings, using his changeup and slider to baffle the Vermont offense.

“I didn’t think I was that good today,” said Gee. “Luckily, I had very good defense behind me.”

However, despite another stellar performance from Gee, Vermont starter Hassan Pena [4-2, 2.93 ERA before tonight’s start] kept the Cyclones scoreless through 4.2 innings and got himself out of a bases-loaded jam in the third, helping to create an old school pitcher’s duel that lasted throughout the game.

“We had a lot of opportunities to put them away early,” said Cyclones manager Edgar Alfonzo. “We didn’t take advantage of them.”

Leaving four runners in scoring position through the game’s first four innings, the Mets Single-A affiliate had more than a few opportunities to get on the scoreboard, but couldn’t muster any real offense off the 22-year old Lake Monsters starter.

Greg Mullens would come out of the pen for the Cyclones in the sixth after Gee hurled five innings of two-hit ball and would keep the game scoreless through eight, retiring all six hitters he faced before he was replaced by right-hander Michael Antonini.

Making his Brooklyn debut tonight, Antonini would continue to preserve the shut out, thanks to a beautiful outfield assist from Brandon Kawal that nailed Craig Stinson at second with one out. Antonini would then get the next hitter he faced to ground out, sending the game into the bottom of the eighth with the score still 0-0.

‘Clones closer Dan McDonald would then come out of the Brooklyn pen in the top of the ninth after the Cyclones failed to score in the bottom of the eighth and prolonged the shutout, giving the Mets Single-A affiliate one more chance to end the game before sending it into extra innings.

Getting back to back singles from Joaquin Rodriguez and Matt Bouchard with only one out in the bottom of the ninth, the Cyclones needed only a long single from Micah Schilling to send the 9,050 fans at Keyspan Park home happy. However, Schilling would fly out to the right fielder and leave it all up to ‘Clones third baseman Jake Eigsti, but like Schilling, Eigsti wouldn’t be able to end the game either, flying out to the left fielder and sending the game into extra-innings, ending a 14-game hitting streak in the process.

Beaning the first batter he faced and giving up a double to Aaron Seuss in the top of the tenth, McDonald wasn’t nearly as sharp as he was the previous inning and after a walk to the next hitter that would load the bases, Josh Appell was summoned out of the pen to try and clean up the mess. However, after striking out Sean Rooney on four pitches, he would walk Jonathan Martinez to give the Lake Monsters a 1-0 lead. The next hitter, Boomer Whitting, would ground out and force the ‘Clones to score a run in bottom of the tenth or go home without a win.

Leading off the bottom of the tenth was Cyclones slugger J.R. Voyles, who not only wouldn’t be able to tie the game for Brooklyn, but was struck above his left eye with a first pitch fastball by Lake Monsters reliever Alberto Tavarez. Visibly shaken and in tremendous pain, Voyles, who was making his first appearance at Keyspan after injuring his hamstring two weeks ago, had to carried off the field on a stretcher and was rushed to the hospital.

“It was one of the scariest moments of my life,” said Alfonzo. “He got hit right under his helmet, above his left eye. I hope he’s going to be ok. He’s been working so hard lately to get back into the lineup.”

If an injury to their star player wasn’t enough, the weekly fireworks at Coney Island started right after, with smoke filling Keyspan Park to the point where action had to be suspended until they were finished, all while Voyles was being attended to. With Jefferies Tatford taking Voyles place at first when the action continued, ‘Clones catcher Jason Jacobs would hit into a double play and Kawal would fly out to center field with a runner on second base, putting an end to a 1-0 extra-inning loss.

While the Cyclones obviously weren’t happy with the loss, their immediate concern was for their teammate, who was rushed to the hospital with no current prognosis for his injury.

“It’s just bad luck,” said Gee. “The guy just got off the DL two days ago. He’s one of the best players on the team. We hope he’s ok; we really need him out there.”