|Matt Cleveland pitching for the Cyclones with Coney Island in the distance. Photo by Jason Schott.|
The Cyclones got one of their best wins of the season, as starting pitcher Matt Cleveland had a strong outing, and the offense staked him to a big lead early on their way to a 9-4 victory over the Tri-City ValleyCats on Thursday night at MCU Park.
The Cyclones improved to 22-16 on the season, one game behind the Aberdeen Ironbirds (24-16) in the New York-Penn League's McNamara Division.
Brooklyn batted around from 1-9 in their order in both the first and second innings, scoring four in the first and five in the second.
In the first, they knocked out Tri-City starter Edgardo Sandoval after just two-thirds of an inning as they tagged him for four runs on two hits and three walks. He also threw two wild pitches, one of which allowed a run to come home, and there was an error on a hit to center field by Luke Ritter.
In the second, with Daniel Cody on for Tri-City (after he got the final out of the first), the Cyclones kept it going. With one out Yoel Romero and Wilmer Reyes singled before Ritter was hit by a pitch.
Antoine Duplantis then laced a single to score Romero and Reyes, and Joe Genord doubled home Ritter to make it 7-0.
The Cyclones got two more when Tri-City shortstop Deury Castillo threw it away at first on a hit by Jose Peroza, and that made it 9-0 Brooklyn.
Cleveland took that lead and cruised into the sixth, allowing just three runs (two earned) on three hits and no walks, while striking out four.
The 21-year-old right-hander is now 3-2 on the season and he lowered his ERA to 3.89.
Cyclones Manager Edgardo Alfonso said of how Cleveland has improved in his last few starts, "I think Matt is pitching now, and what I mean by pitching is, more focused the first couple innings, more concentrated than trying to throw harder, just focus on cutters, mix pretty good. It took him three or four innings to do that, so we're talking about from the first pitch of the game. He's been doing that very good, so I think it's been working for him so far."
The Cyclones hit the road for a three-game series this weekend at the Vermont Lake Monsters (16-24) before returning home to face the Lowell Spinners (24-13) for a four-game set starting on Tuesday at MCU Park. Tuesday is a doubleheader starting at 5:00 p.m.