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Scrappers streak ends as team falls 8-2

Scrappers streak ends as team falls 8-2
Tyler Naquin
July 25, 2012
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It wasn’t very merry for the Scrappers on Christmas in July night at Eastwood Field, as Mahoning Valley lost 8-2 to the Staten Island Yankees to halt the team's winning streak at three.

Jacob Lee made his second start of the year after putting together a near-perfect performance his last time on the mound.  On the road against the Jammers, Lee tossed five innings of no-hit baseball, with his only base-runner coming via an error.  He also entered Wednesday's contest the team's leader in strikeouts with 27. 

After pitching a perfect first, Lee was the beneficiary of some early Scrapper offense.  Tyler Naquin got the first Scrapper hit as he doubled down the line with one out.  Then, following a pair of walks to Charlie Valerio and Joe Sever, the Scrappers took advantage of a costly miscue by Yankee starter Gabriel Encinas, scoring two runs after Encinas failed to receive a throw from the third baseman that would have resulted in the final out of the inning.  Instead, the Scrappers exited the first with a 2-0 advantage.

With the lead, Lee cruised through the second before running into trouble in the third.  Lee loaded the bases with no outs after a leadoff single, a walk and a hit-by-pitch.  Then, with one out, he allowed a single to right that cleared the bases after a Juan Romero misplay in right.  Lee exited after the third, giving up two earned runs on three hits with a pair of strikeouts.

Geoffrey Davenport replaced Lee in the fourth, and allowed State Island to double their lead, allowing a two-out walk followed by an RBI single.  He allowed one more run in the sixth inning when Isaias Tejada hit a ball that stayed just inside the foul pole in left field for a solo homerun to give Staten Island a 5-2 lead.

Meanwhile, the Scrapper offense was pretty much stagnant following the first inning.  They had an opportunity to put a run on the board in the second after leadoff man Juan Romero roped a double down the third base line but the team was ultimately unable to capitalize.  They also got their leadoff runner on in the third, fourth and fifth innings, but the results were the same; none of the runners came around to score.

All in all, the Scrappers only collected six hits.  After the Yankee starter Gabriel Encinas left the game, the Scrapper offense managed just one hit.  That one hit didn’t come until the ninth inning, when Joe Sever doubled to right field.  What was worse, though, was the combined 0-for-10 the team went with runners in scoring position.

“That’s probably the best pitching I’ve seen for nine innings this year,” said manager Ted Kubiak of the Yankee effort.  “They had some guys who could throw, and we just couldn’t hit.  We hit some balls hard right at guys, but we didn’t do much other than that.”

Geoffrey Davenport left the game after the seventh inning and was replaced by Nicholas Pasquale, who tossed an uneventful eighth.  Then, Luis Encarnacion came in to pitch the ninth in what was still manageable 5-2 ballgame. 

That was until he ran into the league’s current home run king, Saxon Butler.  Butler entered the game with nine homeruns.  His second closest competitors are a trio of players with six, including Mahoning Valley's Romero.  Butler also leads the league in RBI, extra-base hits, total bases and slugging percentage.  It was certainly not the guy Encarnacion wanted to face with two runners on and no outs.  Butler took full advantage, smashing a pitch from Encarnacion that cleared the batting cage in right field.  The right fielder, which ironically enough was Romero, didn’t even have to look.

That home run sealed the game for Staten Island, giving them an 8-2 victory over the Scrappers.  Scrapper starter Jacob Lee took the loss, and Yankee starter GabrielEncinas picked up the win.  The Scrappers will look the take the middle game of the series tomorrow night at 7:05.

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