|MCU Park. Photo by Jason Schott.|
By Joey Jarzynka
After a seven-run victory over the Tri-City ValleyCats on Wednesday night, the Brooklyn Cyclones followed suit by putting up nine runs in the first couple innings to earn a series win over the Houston Astros Class-A affiliate with a 9-4 victory on Thursday night in Coney Island.
Coming into the game with the highest team earned run average in the New York-Penn League with a 4.37, starting pitcher Edgardo Sandoval didn’t help the cause at MCU Park. Not being able to make it out of the first inning, where he was tabbed with four runs on a pair of hits, and a trio of walks in only two-thirds of an inning.
The second inning was no better for the ValleyCats, as Antoine Duplantis singled to right field to score a pair of runs, to extend the lead to six. Five total runs were scored in the second frame, that included a pair of wild pitches, and an error on the third-baseman A.J. Lee. Apart of the madness in the two-run outburst, infielder Yoel Romero extended his hitting-streak to 13 games with a single.
The ValleyCats showed signs of life in the ninth inning, as they drew three walks against Brooklyn relief pitcher Matt Mullenbach that loaded up the bases. A groundout from Bryan Arias concluded the deal as the Cyclones earned their 22nd victory of the 2019 summer season.
Cyclones starter Matt Cleveland has bounced back in his previous three starts. The Connecticut native has thrown a minimum of five full innings dating back to July 14, against West Virginia, and earning the win in all three decisions.
"He’s more focused the first couple innings, more concentrated than trying to throw harder, just focus on cutters, mix pretty good," Cyclones Manager Edgardo Alfonzo said postgame. "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.”
Cleveland lowered his ERA to 3.89, while allowing three runs, two earned, and striking out four in five and a third innings of work.
During the 2017 and 2018 summer seasons, the New York Mets affiliate could not obtain a series victory against the aforementioned Houston Astros Class-A affiliate, where they combined for five wins in a possible 13 outcomes.
The Cyclones kick-off a three-game road trip tomorrow evening as they travel to the Vermont Lake Monsters. Manager Edgardo Alfonzo spoke about the possible negatives of the upcoming bus ride north, “They need to stay strong. I know it’s hard on the bus for seven hours, but they’ve been great. Brooklyn then returns home to face the Lowell Spinners on Tuesday afternoon in a double-header.