Johan Santana leads Clones to victory

No-han: Johan Santana held the Auburn Doubledays scoreless in his three-inning stint with the Cyclones at MCU Park on Aug. 5.
Photo by Steve Solomonson

Cyclones 8
Auburn Doubledays 0

Aug. 5 at MCU Park

The Cyclones blanked and spanked the Auburn Doubledays with some help from Mets ace Johan Santana in a game cut short by rain.

Looking nearly as dominant as he did during his historic no-hitter earlier this season, Santana fanned three batters and gave no runs, one hit, and one walk in three innings in a rehab start as he comes off the disabled list following an ankle sprain. The Doubledays didn’t have any big league help on the mound — and it showed when starter Brett Mooneyham opened the game by plunking Clones center fielder Brandon Nimmo, then walking shortstop Philip Evans. A single off the bat of designated hitter Kevin Plawecki drove the two in, while left fielder Stefan Sabol dropped one into left field for an RBI double.

The Mini-Mets tacked three more runs on the board in the next inning, thanks to a two-run homer by Evans and a hard line drive from catcher Nelfi Zapata that scored first baseman Jayce Boyd. The Doubledays pulled Mooneyham and brought in reliever Bryan Harper to end the inning, but Auburn’s troubles were far from over.

The Doubledays tried to rally in the fourth, after Julian Hilario replaced Santana and gave up a walk to right fielder Wander Ramos and a single to catcher Craig Manuel. An error by Zapata on a pickoff attempt at second let Ramos advance to third with just one out. But Hilario pitched himself out of the jam by catching designated hitter Carlos Lopez looking and fanning left fielder Mike McQuillan. The Clones padded their lead in the bottom half of the frame, as Harper loaded the bases by surrendering a single to Boyd, a double to Plawecki, and a walk to Sabol. Zapata then lined one into center field to let Boyd score, while a sac fly by second baseman Juan Carlos Gamboa sent Plawecki home.

Hilario limited the Doubledays to just two more hits and no runs the next four innings. The Auburn bullpen managed to hold the Cyclones scoreless until the bottom of the eighth, when the clouds opened up and ended the game — and snapped Nimmo’s seven-game hit streak. The Cyclones now trail the Hudson Valley Renegades by just a game and a half for the top slot in the McNamara Division of the NY-Penn League. They lead the Wild Card race by three and a half games over the State College Spikes.

The Cyclones are home again at MCU Park [1904 Surf Ave. at W. 17th Street in Coney Island, (718) 449–8497, www.brooklyncyclones.com] on tonight at 11 am as they take on the Auburn Doubledays.

Clones shortstop Phillip Evans is batting well.

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