Cyclones take two of three from Yanks! They’re back in it!

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Cyclones 3
Yankees 2

Friday, Aug. 1 at Staten Island

The Cyclones extended their winning streak to six games — and drew within two games of the first-place Yankees — with a razor-blade thin victory over their hated rivals.

The Cyclones got on the board first, thanks to Matt Smith’s first homer of the year in the top of the third.

After giving back the run with a wild pitch and an error in the fourth, the Cyclones took the lead for good in the seventh, though it wasn’t pretty. Two consecutive hit batsmen and a sacrifice bunt put runners on second and third with one out. Kirk Nieuwenhuis’s RBI single scored a run, and a second run came in on a subsequent wild pitch.

Yankee slugger Brian Baisley homered in the bottom of the frame, but relievers Roy Merritt and Yury Santana shut down the Staten Islanders. For Santana, it was his team-leading ninth save of the year.

Yankees 6
Cyclones 1

Saturday, Aug. 2 at Keyspan Park

All good things — including six-game winning streaks — must end, but do they have to end so ugly?

This game was all Staten Island until J.R. Voyles’s ninth-inning solo shot broke up the Yankee shutout.

Starter Scott Shaw was roughed up for a single run in the first, but then was brutalized in a five-run second inning explosion by the Baby Bombers. In all, Shaw gave up three doubles, a triple and a homer before being yanked.

The loss dropped the Cyclones back to third place, but only three games behind the Yankees.

Cyclones 5
Yankees 3 (13 innings)

Sunday, Aug. 3 at Staten Island

It was payback time on The Rock, as the Cyclones rallied for two runs in the top of the 13th to defeat their hated rivals and move back to just two games out of first place.

This one was a barn-burner from the get go. The Cyclones got on the board first, when Sean Ratliff’s single knocked in Ike Davis, who had doubled. And in the fifth, Ratliff was in the mix again, singling to lead off the inning and later scoring on a fielder’s choice.

The Yankees got a run back on a solo homer in the bottom of the inning off starter Brad Holt, who gave up another run in the sixth on an error. In all, it was a good night for the rapidly improving first-round pick: 6 IP, 4 hits, 1 ER, 5 Ks.

Holt was long gone by the time Eric Campbell put the Cyclones in front with a ninth-inning solo shot — but closer Steve Clyne couldn’t nail down this win, giving up a run in the bottom of the ninth to let the Yankees back off the hook.

The game was tied until the 13th, when Ratliff’s double scored Ike Davis and Matt Smith’s squeeze play scored Eric Campbell, who got on as a hit batsman.

In the bottom of the 13th, reliever Jeff Kaplan came on for Yury Santana, who left the game with arm trouble — no small thing for the Cyclones’ leading closer.

But Kaplan set down the Yankees in order, ending the threat.

Updated 1:02 pm, August 8, 2008
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