LOWELL, Mass. – Sunday afternoon was Bark in the Park day at LeLacheur Park in Lowell, Massachusetts. Fans were invited to bring their dogs to the New York-Penn League baseball game. There were a fair amount of canines in the crowd of 3,417. They saw a good baseball team from Brooklyn, New York that does not know how to quit.
Of course, it was not Major League Baseball’s Dodgers. The Brooklyn Cyclones, named after the roller coaster at Coney Island and are the Single A affiliate of the New York Mets, found themselves trailing after three innings but were able to regroup and, powered by Michael Bernal’s four hits (two singles, two doubles), registered a total of 10 hits (15 total) and seven runs over the last five innings to roll over the Lowell Spinners 9-3 in a come from behind victory.
Lowell registered just six hits over nine innings.
Spinners manager Joe Oliver liked what he saw from his squad during the first three innings but not so much during the remainder of the game.
“(We) started out pretty well,” the Lowell skipper said. “I thought we had some good momentum after a big series win last night (Saturday) against Hudson Valley but then it kind of rolled around and we went flat. Our pitchers lost their aggressiveness and that created a lot of good hitting situations for Brooklyn. We fell behind a lot of their hitters and it was something we couldn’t really correct.”
The Spinners, looking to add to their two game win streak, sent Reid Reilly to the mound. The Red Sox selected the big (6-foot-4, 220 pound) right-hander in the seventh round of the 2014 MLB First Year Player Draft out of Cal Poly University.
Reilly showed good command of his pitches and mixed speeds effectively in the early going which resulted in four strikeouts in the first three innings but ran into trouble in the fourth inning.
With Lowell enjoying a 3-1 lead, the Anaheim, CA native gave up three consecutive hits and a walk, resulting in one run for Brooklyn. Oliver, pulled Reilly from the game and replaced him with Mario Alcantara. The right-handed reliever faced Tucker Tharp and promptly struck him out to put an end to the Cyclones threat.
Then, the wheels stopped spinning for the Spinners.
In the visitor’s half of the fifth inning, the first five Brooklyn batters reached base against Alcantara on a walk, a fielder’s choice, another walk and a single resulting in two runs and a 4-3 lead for the Cyclones.
Brooklyn added to its lead in the sixth inning when Tomas Nido doubled off Spinners reliever Chandler Shepherd, who entered the game to start the sixth frame. Tucker Tharp followed Nido with a single which moved Nido to third base. Adrian Abreu batted next and hit a sacrifice fly to left field, scoring Nido giving the Cyclones a 5-3 lead.
Brooklyn broke the game open in the eighth inning as they sent eight men up to the plate and unleashed two singles, a double, and took advantage of two walks to score four runs to take a 9-3 lead over Lowell.
The Spinners could do nothing against Cyclones pitching.
“Offensively, they (Lowell) just fell asleep,” Oliver said. “We came right out of the gate swinging the bats really well with five hits in the first couple of innings then just turned it off. We didn’t have good, quality swings at pitches. We had some decent opportunities to put some things together but just mailed it in.”
Oliver believes this game will serve as a teaching tool that will be discussed before the team takes the field again.
“You want to say a lot but you don’t want to get too many guys thinking about too many things,” Oliver explained. “We’ve been on a pretty good run. I just think the effort level kind of dropped halfway through the game. That might be something we’ll address tomorrow. Let these guys sleep on it and just remind them we’re playing nine innings and people aren’t going to go out there and just give up against us. We want to win ball games. We want to get back in this and make the wild card.”
Oliver’s Spinners get another opportunity to do just that in game two of the series against these same Cyclones.
The Spinners are slated to send left-hander Jake Drehoff (0-3, 5.71 ERA) to the mound. Brooklyn will send out a lefty of their own in Alberto Baldanado (0-3, 8.35 ERA).
Game time will be 7:05 pm at Lowell’s LeLacheur Park.