TROY — After a humiliating defeat in the first game, Tri-City couldn’t find the answer in the second game of the twi-night doubleheader. They fell again to the Lowell Spinners 6-4.
“The day off got us a little off guard. We were playing good so it kind of got us lazy,” said Manager Ozney Guillen.
The early innings of this game were decided purely by minor pitching errors. A slow start by Tri-City right-hander Manny Ramirez resulted in two extra base hits and a run from the first two at-bats. Lowell starter Kelvin Sanchez struggled with his control from the very start. In his brief outing Sanchez went two and a third innings while only throwing 20 of his 49 pitches for strikes. Fortunately for Lowell, Tri-City always seemed to bail him out with some well-timed strikeouts.
His mistakes caught up to him in his final inning of work. Joe Perez drew a four pitch walk to lead off the inning. Perez stole second and advanced to third on a wild pitch before Sanchez walked another batter. This time while being overly focused on the runner at first, Sanchez balked to hand the ValleyCats their first run.
The Spinners finally pulled away in the fourth inning as Ramirez couldn’t seem to catch a break. Ramirez allowed two doubles, a single and a triple before he was finally pulled in favor of Garrett Gayle. As a result of his mistakes the Spinner threw four runs up on the board in the frame. He pitched two strong innings before making way for Michael Horrell, who let up Lowell’s last run of the game in the sixth inning.
“They have a great team. The mistakes we made they capitalized on. They have a great coaching staff so you can’t put a fastball down the middle because it’s a lot of doubles and barrels and stuff,” Guillen said.
The ‘Cats offense was firing on all cylinders as recently as last weekend but today they were back in their old form. The team couldn’t get their bats on the ball most of the night. They struck out 11 times while only getting five hits. The teams also squandered opportunity early on by risking their runners on base. Two players were caught stealing in the first inning while the erratic Sanchez was still on the mound.
The ValleyCats put on their rally caps in the sixth inning. Luis Guerrero, Korey Lee, Zach Biermann and Perez got hits in the inning and pinned Lowell reliever Cody Scroggins with three earned runs.
Tri-City didn’t finish the job in the seventh, going down in order with two strikeouts to end the game.
The loss tonight means that the ValleyCats have now lost both the doubleheader as well as the series to Lowell. They also fall down to last in the division at 12-19. They will return again to The Joe tomorrow night to try and avoid getting swept at home, which has not happened all season.
Guillen said, “I think these kids need to find their routine to push them. And I think that’s something we have to start working on, getting ready for those first five innings because we’re great the last four.”