“You got to get twenty-seven outs to win.” Casey Stengel
“You can’t sit on a lead and run a few plays into the line and just kill the clock. You’ve got to throw the ball over the damn plate and give the other man his chance. That’s why baseball is the greatest game of them all.” Earl Weaver
Brandon Erbe must wonder what is going on. The young prospect was one out from winning his first AAA game when is disappeared like a fleeting cloud on a mid-summer day. However it was not mid-summer and there wasn’t a cloud in the sky when Erbe watched his victory evaporate with two outs in the bottom of the 9th at Alliance Bank Field in Syracuse.
Erbe had pitched his best game of the season. He allowed no runs giving up no hits and 4 walks in 7 innings work. Kam Mickolio came on in relief and had another strong outing and then closer Frank Mata who has been has been solid in relief blew the save and lost the game after getting the first two batters that he faced in the bottom of the 9th out.
The game was a pitcher’s duel all the way. Syracuse starter Andrew Kown went 6.2 innings giving up one run on seven hits. Had it not been for the Chiefs’ two out comeback in the bottom of the 9th he would have taken the loss. Instead he was off the hook got a no decision instead and Jason Bergmann in relief got the win.
The Tides went ahead in the top of the 5th when Michael Aubrey led off with a double, advanced to second on a ground out by Robert Andino and scored when Michel Hernandez singled. The Tides loaded the bases in the top of the 7th and could not score and left a runner on in each of the 8th and 9th innings.
In the bottom of the 9th Frank Mata who has been almost lights out each time he has come into a game retired the first two batters. With two outs Chris Duncan a .244 hitter batting in the 7th position singled. Eric Bruntlett the third baseman a .219 hitter smacked a triple to right which scored Duncan to tie the game and blow the save. With one out and the runner on third and Mata facing catcher Deven Ivany the unthinkable happened. Mata threw the first pitch in the dirt past Michel Hernandez who could not stop it and Brunlett scored easily giving the Chiefs’ the victory.
It was the kind of loss that tears the heart out of a team, a game that by all means the Tides should have won was lost on two hits by marginal hitters and a bad pitch by a solid closer. For Erbe who has had nothing but trouble this year it seemed that he would have his first win after pitching his best game. Instead of getting a 1-0 win the Tides went down to defeat by a score of 2-1. The Tides had 1 run on 8 hits with 1 error and left 9 men on base. The Chiefs who looked like they were going down in defeat got to celebrate the victory with 2 runs on 6 hits and no errors while stranding seven.
The Chiefs take the series 3 games to one and the Tides travel tonight to Buffalo where they will play the team that used to be the Tides, the New York Mets AAA affiliate the Buffalo Bisons with Chris Tillman (3-3 3.49) going up against Bisons’ knuckleballer R A Dickey (3-2 2.56).
Up in Baltimore the Orioles won their series against the Seattle Mariners by a score of 6-5 doing something that they have not been able to do in a long time by coming back from a four run deficit in the top of the 8th. With recently promoted former Tides outfielder Corey Patterson starting the inning with a solo home run and Luke Scott slammed a grand-slam giving the Orioles the lead Mark Hendrickson got the win and former Tides pitcher Alfredo Simon got his 5th save. The Orioles improve to 11 and 24 and have a two game winning streak going into their three game series at Camden Yards against the 13-9 Cleveland Indians.
Until tomorrow all the best,