While the Yankees have dominated the Mets during inter-league play this year, the fortunes have been flipped down in the minor leagues.
The Brooklyn Cyclones, a New York Mets affiliate, continued their domination of the Staten Island Yankees this week with wins Monday and Wednesday nights at Keyspan Park and Tuesday night across the Narrows — giving them six victories against the Baby Bombers in six tries this season.
On Wednesday night, with two outs in the bottom of the ninth, shortstop David Reaver singled to left, scoring Travis Garcia, to give the Cyclones a 4-3 win and a sweep of the series.
The hit bailed out closer Rober Paulk, who had the allowed the tying run to score in the eighth. Paulk, who retired the side in order in the ninth, picked up his first win of the season. He also has four saves.
On Monday, four Brooklyn pitchers combined to shutout the Yankees 3-0, with starter Matthew Lindstrom striking out five over five and two thirds innings to earn the win.
The right-hander was helped some by sloppy Yankee base running in the third when, after Tyson Hanish led off with a walk, Lindstrom picked him off with a quick throw over to first. Lindstrom then walked Andre Randolph, who was quickly thrown out trying to steal second with a perfect peg from catcher Yunir Garcia.
Lindstrom stayed out of any trouble until the sixth when, after striking out Randolph and inducing Yelky Cabrera to ground to third, he hit Alexander Santa with a pitch. After a visit from the Yankees trainer, Santa hobbled down to first base, and then promptly stole second.
Lindstrom then walked Hector Zamora, which brought out manager Tim Teufel who brought in right-hander Taylor George to pitch to Yankees clean-up hitter Edwar Gonzalez. George caught Gonzalez looking at a fastball to end the inning and the threat.
Meanwhile, Yankees starter Jeffrey Karstens was himself cruising, giving up just three hits over the first 4 and 2/3 innings, before the bottom fell out.
With two out in the fifth, back-to-back doubles by Garcia and Rashad Parker brought home the first run of the game, before a single by last-minute replacement Corey Coles brought home the speedy Parker. Ian Bladergroen then doubled in Coles to plate the final Clones run, ending the night for Karstens, who was replaced by Adam Wheeler.
Tim Worthington and Carlos Muniz combined to pitch the final two frames, securing the Cyclones win.
On Tuesday, at the Ballpark at St. George, the change of venue did not change the fate of the Yankees, who fell 7-3 when the Clones knocked a season-high 12 hits.
But it was shoddy defense by the Yanks — particularly shortstop David Slevin — that caused their downfall.
With the Cyclones up 2-1 in the fifth, Rashad Parker worked a one-out walk, which brought up Ian Bladergroen. The first baseman grounded the ball behind second where Slevin booted what should have been an inning-ending double play. The official scorer ruled it a hit, as Slevin did eventually throw late to first, but he couldn’t be so charitable on the next batted ball, which Slevin again booted, loading the bases.
Up stepped catcher Tony Piazza, who grounded to third baseman Hector Zamora. Zamora charged the ball, catching it on the infield grass before unwisely — and awkwardly — throwing toward second base in hopes of getting a double play. Instead, the ball went into centerfield, allowing two runs to score, and leaving Piazza at first and Whealy at third. The Clones’ final run of the inning scored on a perfectly executed double steal, with Whealy scoring as Piazza stole second. All told, the Cyclones scored three runs on one very questionable hit.
Cyclones starter Greg Ramirez pitched well over four innings of work, striking out four while giving up just one hit and one run. He made way for Ivan Maldonado, who got his first five outs by way of the strikeout, earning him the win.
Robert Paulk closed things out in the ninth, throwing just one pitch to earn his league-leading fifth save of the year.
Retired Met outfielder Brett Butler was on hand for Tuesday night’s game on Staten Island, where he coached first base, as was Floyd Bannister, former major league pitcher and father of Cyclone Brian Bannister Two solo homers were hit in the friendlier confines of the Ballpark at St. George Tuesday, as designated hitter Stacy Bennett opened the scoring with a blast over the right field fence, and Ian Bladergroen knocked a mammoth shot over the right-centerfield wall in the seventh The Yankees and Cyclones will play each other six more times this season, and Cyclones fans interested in visiting St. George to watch one of three remaining games there can do so easily, as the contests have not been selling out there. Approximately 1,000 seats were available for Tuesday night’s game.
July 7, 2003 issue