It was deja vu all over again.
And again. And again. And again.
For the fifth time in their five-year history, the Brooklyn Cyclones took the season opener, this time with a 10-7 victory over the hated Staten Island Yankees.
In front of the largest crowd ever to make its way into Keyspan Park, Mookie Wilson’s squad put on a show featuring timely hitting, aggressive base running and, minus three errors, some excellent glove work.
But it was Jesus Gamero’s two-run homer off the left field scoreboard in the seventh, which put the Clones up 6-4, that garnered the biggest cheer of the night from the crowd of 9,303.
The Clones went to work on the base paths early when, in the first, after a walk to leadoff man Jonathan Malo and a single from Gamero put runners on first and third, Wilson ordered a double steal. Not knowing Malo was on his way home, Yankees catcher P.J. Pilittere threw to second, but the ball bounced passed shortstop Brett Gardner, and all runners were safe. Malo was credited with a steal of home on the play.
The Brooklyns added two more runs in the second, when Josh Peterson reached on an error and Tim Grogan doubled off the wall in right, putting runners at second and third. Yankee hurler Jim Conroy then struck out Rafael Arroyo, but did so with a wild pitch, allowing Conroy to advance to first and Peterson to score. Grogan then scored the old-fashioned way, on a hard single by Armand Gaerlan passed a diving Kyle Anson at third.
In the fourth, the Clones went up 4-0 when Arroyo, who had walked and stolen second, scored on a single by Greg Gonzales.
All the while, Cyclones starter Jeff Landing was putting up zeros, thanks much to the leather of his fielders.
A lead-off single in the second by the Yanks Eduardo Larson was negated by a tailor-made short-to-second-to-first double play. That was followed by a diving catch by center fielder Gonzalez, who stole a single from Piliterre.
But Landing, who began the season with Hagerstown of the South Atlantic League, seemed to tire in the fifth. After retiring the first two batters (one on a diving stab by Garelan at second), he walked Eduardo Nunez, who later advanced to second on a wild pitch. Gardner then beat out an infield single, sending Nunez to third. James Cooper’s single scored Nunez and sent Gardner to third before a wild pitch allowed Gardner to score.
Two walks then loaded the bases, but after a talk from pitching coach Steve Merriman, Landing caught Garrett Patterson looking.
Landing pitched a perfect sixth, and was replaced in the seventh by Travis Hope, who coughed up the lead thanks to some shoddy fielding (two errors) behind him.
But with the score tied at four in the bottom of the frame, Malo singled to lead things off, setting up Gamero’s heroics.
The Clones tacked on four more runs in the eight, putting the game out of reach of the Yanks, who capped the scoring in the ninth with a three-run homer by Patterson.
After giving up the home and allowing the tying run to come to the plate, Aristides Almenar settled down, getting Reggie Corona to ground to short to end the game.
And once again, the hometown crowd went home happy on Opening Night.
June 25, 2005 issue