Video recap / Gersh throws out the first pitch
The Cyclones didn’t make up any ground against their hated rivals, the Staten Island Yankees, but the Brooklyns did manage to keep their post-season hopes alive with a split of the teams’ last home-and-home series of the season.
The Cyclones crossed the Narrows on Monday night down five games to the Baby Bombers and their dominant pitching.
But Clones starter Nelson Portillo put on a pitching display of his own, taking a no-hitter deep into the seventh inning.
With no run support, Portillo soldiered along until losing his bid for the team’s first no-hitter ever, giving up a clean line drive to Kyle Larsen. The hit brought Cyclones manager George Greer out of the dugout, who called in Jose DeLaTorre to replace Portillo, who had reached his pitch count.
As he left the field, Portillo received a hearty ovation from the Staten Island fans.
That good feeling was quickly ruined when Colin Curtis lined a rocket that was misplayed by right-fielder Jesus Gamero, whose error allowed the only run of the game to score.
Portillo — who had given up just one hit — was tagged with the loss.
The action moved to the friendly confines of Keyspan Park on a dreary Tuesday night, when Cyclones General Manager Steve Cohen guaranteed a victory — claiming he would have his head shaved if his team didn’t deliver the “W” (see story below).
Cohen’s locks shook nervously when the Yankees took a 1-0 lead in the sixth, thanks to an error by Cyclone third-baseman Ivan Naccarata that gave Wilkins DeLaRosa new life. DeLaRosa promptly single to center and stole second.
Mitch Hilligoss then singled to center, scoring DeLaRosa.
The Yankees tacked on an insurance run in the eighth against closer German Marte.
But the two-run lead didn’t hold up, as the Cyclones exploded for three runs in the bottom of the inning, earning a debt of gratitude from lovers of Steve Cohen’s hair everywhere.
It wasn’t pretty — the first run scored on a walk, followed by a Joe Holden nubber, a passed ball, and a Yankee error. Dustin Martin and Naccarata then followed with infield singles to re-load the bases.
After the Yankees went to their pen, Jesus Gamero’s keen eye earned him a walk and an RBI that tied the game.
That brought up newcomer David Wabick, who terrified Yankee reliever Nicholas Peterson just enough to uncork a wild pitch that gave the Clones a lead they — and Steve Cohen — would relish.
With the two-game split, the Cyclones were again five games back of the Yanks, and one game behind Oneonta for the league’s lone wild card spot with nine games left to play.
The Cyclones end their season with a six-game homestand starting on Saturday against the mediocre Lowell Spinners and the lowly Vermont Lake Monsters.
August 26, 2006 issue