The hated Staten Island Yankees drew first blood in the first round of the New York–Penn League playoffs, shutting down the Brooklyn Cyclones, 2–0, and taking a commanding lead in the best-of-three series.
Though the Cyclones had dominated the Yankees all season long, Cyclone hitters were powerless against Yankee starter Matthew Tracy, who only gave up two hits, while striking out four, in his six innings.
The Yankees got on the board first, getting all they needed on a two-out single in the second.
The Cyclones looked like they’d get that run back in the fourth, when their top hitter Daniel Muno hit a scorcher to center, but Mason Williams made an insane catch to rob Muno of what would have been a triple.
“That was a great defensive play on a ball that would have changed the game,” said Cyclones manager Rich Donnelly.
Charlie Thurber then singled, but it was meaningless. The Cyclones got only one more hit on the night — a rare lack of offense for a team that beat the Yankees nine times in 14 regular-season contests and swept the Baby Bombers in the last three games of the season.
“Their guys pitched great,” said Donnelly. “Tough pitching will make you look bad.”
That even applied to the Cyclones’ fielding, as the best defensive team in the world made three errors.
The Yankees got an insurance run in the eighth, putting together a cheap infield single, a stolen base, an error that allowed the runner to move to third, and a single to make the lead, 2–0.
The Yanks’ closer, Branden Pinder, the league’s top reliever this year, was summoned to get the last six outs, which he did in fine form, striking out four.
Don’t blame Brooklyn starting pitcher Marcos Camarena, who pitched well over six innings, giving up six hits and striking out nine. But the three singles in the third was enough to ruin his night.
“Our backs are to the wall,” Donnelly said. “Just like they’ve been all season.”
Game 2 will be today in Staten Island at 1:05 pm, a game that was pushed earlier in the day to avoid expected thunderstorms tomorrow night.