Saturday, August 26, 2006

IronBirds Trip Up Baby Bombers, Halt Home Streak At Six

STATEN ISLAND, NY -It had to end sometime. The Ironbirds came into St. George and halted the Baby Bombers' six-game home winning streak- defeating them by a score of 7-2 before 2,203 at Richmond County Ball Park Saturday night.

It was the Bombers' first home defeat since a 9-6 loss against Lowell back on August 6. Despite the defeat, Staten Island (39-34) still leads second place Brooklyn by five games in the McNamara Division. The Cyclones fell at home to the Renegades 3-1. Combined with the Birds' victory, the Cyclones lead Aberdeen (34-30) by just half a game.

Unable to put together a big inning against Ironbird starter Fernando De Nabal (2-3), the Bombers' best chance came in the fourth when they loaded the bases with one out for Jon Poterson but the DH grounded into a 4-6-3 twin killing to end the threat. De Nabal tossed five scoreless innings before giving way to the pen.

With the game still scoreless, Aberdeen struck first with two runs in the fifth off Staten Island starter Grant Duff (0-1). In his first start since coming over from Charleston, the southpaw who kept the Birds off the scoreboard the first four frames ran out of gas. After putting the first two runners on via a walk and double, he left the game after fanning Danny Figueroa.

Interim manager Carlos Chantres opted to bring in Edgar Omana. But on a full count to Pedro Florimon Jr., the lefty reliever uncorked a wild pitch which scored the first run. A batter later, a Miguel Abreu sac fly put the Birds in front by two.

A two out seventh inning rally by the Birds allowed them to double their lead. After retiring the first two batters, reliever Michael Dunn walked the bases loaded before allowing a two-run single to Kieron Pope.

Lately, the Baby Bombers have made a habit of coming back late. They tried to again with two of their own in the home seventh. With runners on second and third, Seth Fortenberry reached on Pope's error allowing both Jose Gil and Poterson to cross home suddenly cutting it to 4-2. But Mitch Hilligoss grounded out to end it.

After giving up two unearned runs, the Birds responded by taking advantage of three S.I. miscues to push across three unearned of their own and go up by five runs. With two runners on thanks to a Wilmer Pino error and a walk, Florimon Jr. singled in one. After a Fortenberry throwing error moved Florimon to third, he scored on an Abreu RBI fielder's choice to make it 6-2. A Chris Vinyard sac fly concluded the ugly inning.

The margin held up to give Aberdeen the first of the two-game series which concludes Sunday afternoon at St. George.

Notes: The game lasted three hours and 15 minutes. Each team combined for five errors and five unearned runs. ... Duff went 4.1 innings giving up two earned on two hits with four walks and three K's. ... Of the Bombers' six hits, only shortstop Chris Kunda finished with more than one hit going 2-for-4 in a losing effort. ... After concluding the series with Aberdeen, Staten Island will host Brooklyn Monday for the first of a home-and-home. It's the final two times they will meet during the regular season. Bombers' Magic Number to clinch the division is eight.

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