LOWELL, Mass. — Monday night was not a good one for the Lowell Spinners.
With their New York-Penn League playoff hopes fading fast, the Hudson Valley Renegades offense broke out and coasted to a 12-6 win at LeLacheur Park.
All the offense the ‘Gades needed came in a four-run second inning and a five-run fifth. The win ensured a series victory after 10-5 win in 11 innings on Sunday night.
“You want to put this one behind you as quick as you can and hurry the clock up to get the day over with,” Spinners manager Joe Oliver said. “We survived it.”
Spinners starter Javier Rodriguez failed to complete the second inning, allowing six runs on five hits while retiring just four Renegades batters in what turned out to be his fifth loss of the year.
The visitors built a 2-0 lead on a pair of hits and an error in the first with both runs scoring on third baseman Joseph Astacio’s two-out, two-run single to center field.
Lowell fell into a 6-0 hole after two innings after allowing four hits to Hudson Valley and committing a pair of errors. Four consecutive Renegades reached base to start the frame with an RBI double from left fielder Angel Moreno and a single by first baseman Hector Montes serving as the biggest blows.
Benton Moss did not run into trouble until the fourth inning when the Spinners scored five runs on as many hits and three errors to move within one.
After second baseman Chad De La Guerra grounded out to begin the frame, seven consecutive Spinners reached first base to bring them right back in the game. First baseman Josh Ockimey walked and third baseman Mitch Gunsolus was hit by a pitch before a three straight run-scoring hits, including a line double to center field from right fielder Kyri Washington.
Washington posted another three-hit night as he made his second straight start after being out for about a week. De La Guerra was the only other Lowell player with a multi-hit effort, going 2-for-5.
“It’s nice to have him back in the lineup,” Oliver said of Washington, the Red Sox’ 23rd-round draftee out of Longwood University. “We need some more offensive threat. Hopefully he can finish strong for us and create that presence in the middle of our lineup.”
Center fielder Tate Matheny and shortstop Jeremy Rivera each singled with one out, coming between catcher Alixon Suarez grounding into a fielder’s choice and advancing to each of the next two bases on errors.
Just as quickly as the Spinners jumped within a run, they lost control and immediately surrendered a five-run fifth to put the game out of reach.
“We snuck back into it, and as soon as we got back into it, we fell apart,” Oliver said. “Defense killed us today. You (could) feel some momentum swinging in your direction and then we just absolutely created the big innings for them again. That just took the wind out of our sails.”
The Renegades banged out four more of their 16 hits in the frame, tagging reliever Daniel Gonzalez who allowed five runs, but just one earned, on as many hits.
After shortstop Michael Russell laced a two-run triple over Matheny’s head and catcher Taylor Hawkins doubled to deep center, Oliver handed the ball to Taylor Nunez who held the visitors to just one run over the next 3.1 frames.
Washington shot a hard single to center field in the seventh to drive home the Spinners’ sixth and final run of the night, but a wild pitch brought home an eighth-inning run for Hudson Valley.
In his first professional pitching appearance, usual first baseman Tucker Tubbs allowed three hits but struck out one as he held the Renegades scoreless in the ninth. Tomas Michelson pitched two clean innings, including a 1-2-3 ninth, en route to his first win of the season for the visitors.
With the Tri-City ValleyCats extending their Stedler Division lead, the margin for error becomes even less for the Spinners entering Tuesday’s series finale with the Renegades. Dioscar Romero will take the ball, hoping to pull out his third win of the season, with first pitch set for 7:05 p.m.
“We can’t afford any more hiccups,” Oliver said. “We’ve just got to go out and play lights-out the rest of the way, but just not focus on eight more games — one game at a time. If you don’t win the first one starting tomorrow, the hole gets even deeper.”