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Check, please! Clone pitcher needs to buy his team dinner

for The Brooklyn Paper
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Hey Cyclones, your next team dinner is on Mike Lynn!

The reliever was saved by spectacular defense twice this week. When he served up a deep drive on Sunday, Justin Garber laid out and made a diving catch as he sprinted back into the right-center-field gap. And when Lynn gave up a potentially game-losing hit in the 13th inning the next night, Luis Rivera gunned down a runner at the plate to keep the game tied.

“[Garber’s play] was one of the best catches I’ve ever seen,” said the grateful pitcher, who earned the win in the 3–2, 14-inning victory over Aberdeen on Monday. “I told him I’d buy him dinner — same as with Luis.”

The right-hander’s first gift came on his first pitch on Sunday — a hanging breaking ball that Yankee Luke Murton smashed over Garber’s head and to his left.

“I thought I was going to catch it on the run, but the ball kept sailing and at the last second I had to jump for it,” said Garber, whose full-extension dive shocked the Staten Island crowd — and impressed his manager.

“It was probably the best catch I’ve seen as a manager,” said Pedro Lopez. “It was a turning point in the game.”

Garber’s grab turned a possible triple into a sac fly, keeping the Cyclones up by two in the fifth inning of the eventual 10–9 win. But Rivera’s laser kept the Li’l Amazin’s from falling behind in extra innings.

With runners on first and second and two outs in the top of the 13th, Aberdeen’s Levi Carolus lined a single to right field. Rivera charged the ball, came up with it on one hop and fired to catcher Ralph Henriquez, who blocked the plate and made the tag, keeping the game tied.

The Cyclones won the game in the next frame.

“I knew I’d get him because when I got the ball, I saw the runner at third base,” said Rivera, whose favorite food is lasagna (nudge, nudge).

“Lasagna? I could probably swing that,” said Lynn.

Updated 5:33 pm, July 30, 2009
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