Late Staten Island Surge Can't Stop Clones in 6-5 Win
by: Patrick Hickey, Jr. | Senior Writer - NY Sports Day | Saturday, July 26, 2008
BROOKLYN, NY - Five games out of first place before Friday's game, the Brooklyn Cyclones knew they had to hit the Staten Island Yankees with everything they had in order to stay in the playoff hunt.
Getting enough offense to support another solid starting pitching performance, the Clones defeated the first-place Yankees 6-5, in a contest that felt more like a playoff game than the 37th game of the regular season.
Now four games back of their cross-bridge rivals, the Clones refuse to take anything for granted and are instead focused on keeping both their white-hot pitching and solid hitting going for as long as they can.
“The end of the game tonight felt like we won the World Series,” said Clones outfielder John Servidio, who had two RBI. “Moral is up and everyone is feeling good.”
Things didn't start Brooklyn's way however, as Staten Island got on the board early on a lead-off triple by Ray Kruml and an RBI ground out by David Adams off Cyclones starter Jenry Mejia [1-1, 6.23 ERA in three starts] in the first that forced Brooklyn to play catchup.
The Mets Single-A affiliate wasted no time getting back into the game however, as Matt Smith grew his eighth walk in eight games and Clones second baseman JR Voyles hit his second homer in as many games, putting Brooklyn ahead 2-1.
“I was trying to get a fastball high in the zone,” said Voyles. “He was keeping the ball down and I was trying to elevate him. I got my pitch and I got it pretty good.”
Showing the same fire at the plate that got them eight runs on Thursday, Brooklyn added another run off a Jose Jimenez solo-homer in the second. In the fourth, John Servidio got in on the action and gave the Baby Bums a three-run lead, courtesy of a sacrifice fly that allowed Kirk Nieuwenhuis, who doubled earlier in the inning, to score.
After a rocky first, Mejia rebounded and kept he Yankees offense at bay until he was replaced by Roy Merritt in the sixth. Giving up only three hits, Mejia seems to be a different pitcher than he was through his first two starts, where he gave up nine earned runs in only eight innings pitched.
“For a young kid, he has a bright future,” said catcher Jordan Abruzzo of the 19-year-old Mejia. “He has really dominating stuff and he has a lot of room to get better. He's going to be a lot of fun to watch.”
After Merritt avoided trouble with a scoreless sixth, Servidio singled home Ike Davis, who led off the inning with a single of his own, giving Brooklyn a 5-1 lead. With a four-run lead, Merritt continued to baffle Staten Island in the seventh, while Yury Santana silenced the Yanks in the eighth. Matt Smith added an RBI single in eighth as well, giving the Clones a 6-1 lead.
Things then began to get hairy in the final frame as Brandon Moore gave up three runs and was eventually replaced by Brooklyn closer Stephen Clyne. With the tying run at the plate, Clyne couldn't calmed the sudden offense onslaught by the Yankees either, as a Kruml double made it a one-run game. After a quick meeting with Brooklyn pitching coach Hector Berrios however, Clyne calmed down and struck out the last two hitters he faced, giving the Baby Bums a hard-fought a 6-5 win.
Playing in Staten Island on Saturday, before coming back home on Sunday and going back over the Verrazano Bridge on Monday to finish the four-game series, the Cyclones know that their season may be hanging in the balance.
Serious and determined, the Mets Single-A affiliate isn't fooling around on the field.
“We're taking advantage of our opposition right now,” said Abruzzo. “It all starts with executing on offense and then getting good pitching and defense. That's exactly what's happening now.”