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UGH! Cyclones blow biggest game of the year

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Yankees 9
Cyclones 4

Aug. 4, at Keyspan Park

They don’t get more demoralizing than this: The Cyclones — having won 11 of their last 15 games, having clawed back to within two games of the first-place Yankees, having finally put a winning face on what looked like a disastrous season — took an early lead against their hated rivals and looked like they were cruising to a win that would bring them to within just one game of first place.

And then, the seventh inning happened.

Up 4–2, the Cyclones suddenly turned into high school bench-warmers: Usually solid reliever Roy Merritt was victimized first by his infield (thanks to an error by J.R. Voyles), then by himself (with an error on a pickoff move and a subsequent wild pitch). The runner eventually scored on an error — but the Yankees weren’t done. With two outs and a man on first, manager Edgar Alfonzo summoned Erik Turgeon, who promptly gave up three consective hits and two runs. Reliever Wendy Rosa then came in, and gave up another single to cap the four-run frame for the Yankees.

The Cyclones never recovered. The Yankees added three more in the ninth — and suddenly all that talk of a franchise on the verge of a comeback faded into the salty mists of Coney Island.

The seventh-inning collapse undid so much good work by the Brooklyns: The team score its first run on a groundout after Kirk Nieuwenhuis hit a monstrous triple to dead center in the first. Two more runs score in the fifth, one on Eric Campbell’s seventh double of the year. Nieuwenhuis later added a two-out RBI single in the sixth. He was 3-for-4 on the night.

Starter Jenry Meija pitched pretty well, going six innings and giving up just two runs. He struck out five.But he was long gone by the time the Yankees came alive.

The good news is that the Cyclones are off on Tuesday. The bad news is that they have a lot to think about.

Updated 5:08 pm, July 9, 2018
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