Season on the brink: Clobbered Clones cling to half-game lead

Clones fall to Tigers

Lowell Spinners 9
Cyclones 1

Sept. 4 at MCU Park

The Lowell Spinners destroyed the Clones in the second to last game of the regular season, leaving Brooklyn’s boys of summer clinging to their playoff hopes by the thinnest of margins.

The Cyclones offense only scraped up one run the entire game, when shortstop Phillip Evans drove in second baseman Juan Carlos Gamboa in the fifth. The Spinners, on the other hand, racked up two runs in the very first frame. Shortstop Mike Miller whacked a line drive to center off usually solid Coney starter Gabriel Ynoa — who then committed a throwing error that let second baseman Mookie Betts reach base. Ynow forced designated hitter Deven Marrero to ground out, but the play brought Miller home. Jake Davies then dropped a fly ball into left field for an RBI single.

The Dominican righty kept the Baby Sox off the board over the next four innings, but when Cyclones skipper Rich Donnelly sent in reliever Matthew Bowman, things went awry. Bowman surrendered back-to-back singles to Marrero and Davies, then a sac bunt to third baseman Nick Moore that let the runners move up. Bowmen then allowed fielder Aneury Tavarez to hit a base-clearing line drive single that left the Spinners up by three.

Bowman pitched through the seventh, when he gave up a single to Miller, then a double to Marrero that drove him in. Marrero took third on a passed ball by Clones catcher Nelfi Zapata and scored on a single from Moore. Reliever Beck Wheeler took over pitching duties in the next inning, but things only got worse for Brooklyn. Right fielder Kevin Heller singled on a line drive to center, and catcher Tim Roberson smashed a homer deep to left.

The Cyclones now lead the NY–Penn League wild card race by just half a game, after the second-place Batavia Muckdogs’ faceoff against the Jamestown Jammers was postponed. The pride of Coney Island play their last game of the regular season tomorrow. A win, or a Muckdogs loss, guarantees a Brooklyn playoff berth.

The Cyclones are home again at MCU Park [1904 Surf Ave. at W. 17th Street in Coney Island, (718) 449–8497, www.brooklyncyclones.com] today at 6 pm as they take on the Lowell Spinners.

Reach reporter Eli Rosenberg at [email protected] or by calling (718) 260-2531. And follow him at twitter.com/emrosenberg.