Aberdeen could not keep its momentum from a three-game winning streak going on Wednesday as Brooklyn defeated the IronBirds 7-2 behind strong pitching and good hitting.
“They just outplayed us,” manager Gary Kendall said. “We got to play better against a team like that if we’re going to compete for the division.”
Brooklyn jumped on Aberdeen starter Tim Adleman early, scoring two runs in the top of the first inning. Shortstop Rylan Sandoval led off the game with a four-pitch walk, advancing to second on rightfielder Cody Vaughn’s one-out single to right. Both scored to spot Brooklyn a 2-0 lead on designated hitter Joe Bonfe’s double to left field.
Aberdeen had a chance to answer right back in the bottom of the first after leftfielder Kipp Schutz recorded a two-out single and third baseman Adam Gaylord reached on an error, but Schutz was thrown out at home on a perfect throw from Brooklyn’s Vaughn trying to score from second on first baseman David Anderson’s single to right.
The IronBirds finally put something together in the bottom of the fourth inning off Brooklyn starter A.J. Pinera, tying the game at 2-2. Gaylord, Anderson, and rightfielder Blair Dunlap all singled to load the bases with no outs before catcher Austin Rauch lofted a flyball to deep center field to score Gaylord and advance Anderson to third. The next batter, designated hitter Austin Knight walked, but his ball four sailed wide, allowing Anderson to score from third.
The fourth inning ended Pinera’s night. The pitcher pitched four innings, giving up two runs (one earned) on five hits. Pinera walked two and struck out two before he was relieved by righthander Wes Wrenn. Wrenn (3-2, 2.83) pitched four innings of two-hit ball before turning the ball over to Johan Figuero for the ninth inning.
Brooklyn immediately got both runs back, taking a 4-2 lead in the top of the fifth off Adleman. Sandoval led off the inning with a single, but Adleman retired the next two batters. After Sandoval stole second, first baseman Jeff Flagg doubled off the wall in left field to score Sandoval. Then Flagg scored when Bonfe singled, but was tagged out by second baseman Sammie Starr in a run down.
The fifth inning spelled the end of Adleman (1-2, 3.28). He gave up four runs on eight hits and a walk while striking out six. For the year, Adleman’s ERA is sitting at 3.28. Adleman struggled to get batters out all during his outing. He did not record a 1-2-3 inning, and the first 1-2-3 inning by an IronBirds pitcher was not recorded until the top of the sixth when reliever Kam Mickolio, rehabbing from Norfolk, set the Cyclones down in order in his only inning of work.
“I thought that I kept the team in the game even though the first inning turned out to hurt me because it led to two runs,” Adleman said. “Sometimes you make a couple mistakes and the other team makes you pay for it and then that’s what happened tonight.”
“I thought Adleman pitched all right. He competed all right,” Kendall said. “I thought we were a little lackluster in the first inning. I thought we could have made a play or two behind him.”
“Overall, I got a few fastballs up in the zone and missed a few spots,” Adleman said. “They made me pay for it.”
Kendall added, “If there was one thing about Adleman tonight, it was that he worked slow. “
Blake Mechaw followed Mickolio and pitched 1.2 innings, allowing an RBI double to Brooklyn second baseman J.B. Brown to push the Cyclone lead to 5-2. Jose Barajas relieved Mechaw in the eighth and allowed an inherited runner to score, putting Brooklyn ahead 6-2. Barajas allowed centerfielder Darrell Ceciliani to score on a wild pitch in the ninth inning.
The IronBirds continue the three-game series with Brooklyn on Thursday night when righthander Brandon Erbe (0-0, 6.00) makes his second rehab start against Brooklyn’s Mitch Houck (4-0, 3.24). First pitch is at 7:05 p.m. at Ripken Stadium.