The Cyclones managed just one hit across the final four innings. Their starting pitcher was in trouble in four of his seven frames. The relievers used to close out the game each played with fire.
Yet, Brooklyn prevailed, 3-2, over Aberdeen on Tuesday night at KeySpan Park. It was the Cyclones’ 10th straight victory.
Welcome to Coney Island – where winning happens.
“It’s an invincible feeling,” said second baseman Matt Gaski, who drove in the go-ahead run, his first of the year, in the fourth with triple up the right-center field gap. Later he preserved the lead, bailing out right-handed reliever Michael Johnson, throwing a strike to the plate to gun down Tyler Kelly on Levi Carolus’ double off the wall in the eighth.
Mark Cohoon picked up his team-leading fourth victory, tossing seven innings of seven-hit, two-run ball. Catcher Ralph Henriquez had two hits, drove in a run and scored once and rightfielder Luis Rivera drove in a run with a double.
The win was Brooklyn’s ninth – against no defeats – at KeySpan Park, and 16th win in 18 games to start the season, both club records. As Gaski described, the Cyclones arrive at the ballpark expecting to win, and then go out and make it happen.
“Every guy that I have put in the lineup has been able to take the pressure for us,” manager Pedro Lopez said.
They didn’t get off to the best start Tuesday, trailing 2-1 in the second. Runners were on first and second with one out before Cohoon fanned Lance West and Mike Mooney to end the threat. Rivera answered with his 16th RBI, driving home Henriquez with a double off the right-field fence. Gaski followed in the fourth with a triple up the gap, plating leftfielder Nick Santomauro.
“No matter who is in the game pitching or swinging the bat, somebody is picking somebody else up,” Henriquez said. “The atmosphere is awesome in this clubhouse. We all feel we bring something different to the table.”
Lopez opted to rest heavily used late-inning reliever Matias Carrillo and closer Michael Powers, going with Johnson in the eighth and Brandon Sage in the ninth. Johnson appeared to give up the game-tying hit to Kelly, the third baseman ripping a fastball off the wall in left. Santomauro, however, cleanly fielded the carom, fired to Gaski, who threw a strike to Henriquez.
“Santomauro did a great job getting it to me and Henriquez did a great job blocking the plate,” Gaski said.
Of course, such a play isn’t uncommon for the Cyclones. Last week, Santomauro threw out a possible game-tying runner at the plate. Or if it isn’t a web gem, it’s a pitcher working out of a jam or a two-out hit.
“It’s always one big play,” Henriquez said.
Eventually, history would suggest, the winning streak will come to an end, Lopez said. The Cyclones will lose a game at home. They will drop a few on the road. Just don’t tell the players that make up the best the New York-Penn League has to offer.
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