TROY — The Tri-City ValleyCats used two early home runs from Enmanuel Valdez and Ramiro Rodriguez as the framework for a 7-3 win over the Aberdeen Ironbirds at The Joe on Sunday night.
It was the ValleyCats’ fourth straight win and their second straight series win, expanding their first place lead in the Stedler Division to two games over Vermont.
Aside from Rodriguez’ first home run of the season and Valdez’ team-leading fourth homer of the year, the offense was paced by Gilberto Celestino.
Celestino provided the ValleyCats with his second straight three-hit game and his fourth straight multi-hit game, while scoring a run and also drawing a bases loaded walk.
The eighth inning walk by Celestino opened the door for the ValleyCats’ next two runs.
Trey Dawson and Oscar Campos each came in to score on a ground ball from Enmanuel Valdez that was mishandled by Aberdeen shortstop Adam Hall, resulting in the ValleyCats’ final two runs.
Aberdeen committed three errors in the game, while Tri-City had its second straight error-free night.
On the pitching end, Jose Hernandez started the game for the ValleyCats, giving up a run in the fourth inning, before being lifted with two outs.
Mark Moclair then entered for the ValleyCats, sitting down all seven batters that he faced, while striking out a career-high six of them.
Moclair earned the first win of his Minor League career, before handing the ball off to Luis De Paula.
De Paula pitched two scoreless innings and earned a hold, then giving way to Hansel Paulino.
Paulino surrenered a two-run home run to Jaylen Ferguson in the ninth inning, before recording the game’s final out.
The ValleyCats will close out their six-game homestand on Monday afternoon, seeking their first series sweep of the year.
First pitch is slated for 11 a.m. in the ValleyCats’ first matinee game of the season.