Oy vey Maria!
A Cyclones first baseman Jose Maria grounded into three double plays and reliever Joe Napolitano gave up four runs — walking two, throwing a wild pitch, and balking a runner for good measure — in two innings of work as the Cyclones fell to the hated Staten island Yankees 7–4 at MCU Park on Opening Night Tuesday.
Down 7–4 in the sixth, Maria, from the Dominican Republic, had a chance to put the Cyclones back in the game when he came to bat with the bases loaded and one out. Swinging at the first pitch, the 22-year-old grounded to Yankee starter Jorge Guzman who fired the ball home to start a 1–2–3 double play.
It wasn’t Maria’s only rally killer. In the third, he followed an Ian Strom single with a grounded to short that was turned into two outs, and in the fourth, his grounded to short with runners on first and second ended a three-run rally.
Things started well for the Clones, as left-hander Jake Simon matched zeros with Guzman threw two innings before things started to fall apart in the third when he hit lead off hitter Carolos Vidal with a pitch before walking Daniel Barrios. Catcher Carlos Sanchez then threw out Vidal when he tired to steal third before Wilkerson Garcia drew a walk, putting runners on first and second for Dom Thompson-Williams double, which scored Barrios. With runners at second and third, Oswaldo Cabera singled to center scoring Garcia and Thompson-Williams, putting the Yanks up 3–0.
Brooklyn’s Boys of Summer tied things up in the fourth when Jacob Zanon walked and moved to second on an errant pick-off attempt, Leon Byrd walked, and, after a pop out by Jose Miquel Medina, Reed Gamache’s single to center loaded the bases for Sanchez, who doubled to left to score Zanon and Byrd. A fielder’s choice off the bat of Walter Rasquin plated Gamache, tying the score.
But things fell apart when Napolitano came in to start the fifth. The New Englander sandwiched a walk around two strikeouts before a balk, a walk, a passed ball, another walk, a triple, and a wild pitch plated three more Yankees.
The Cyclones closed the scoring in the sixth when Ian Strom was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded and one out before Maria grounded into his last double play, killing the Clones hopes.
Cyclones manager Edgardo Alfonzo said first-game jitters may have played a role in the loss.
“It’s Opening Day in New York,” he said. “The guys want to come in here and show what they got and sometimes it doesn’t work that way.”
The Clones look to right the ship tonight when they head to Vermont to take on the Lake Monsters in a three game set.