You can't ask for more than 92/3 innings of one-run ball from your bullpen, even if that one run decides the game in the 15th inning.
In the Ducks' longest game of the season in innings and time (4 hours, 35 minutes), Sean Smith's home run off righthander Mark Rogers in the top of the 15th gave York a 4-3 win Sunday in the opener of a three-game series and overshadowed a brilliant performance by the Ducks' bullpen.
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"Everybody's throwing strikes," said closer Ryan Kussmaul, who went two scoreless innings and was one of nine relievers to take the hill for the Ducks. "Everyone's doing their job like they're supposed to. We've been keeping us in the game. It's tough. We couldn't get a run there late. Frustrating, but that's baseball."
As the 5,117 fans in attendance at Bethpage Ballpark began to dissipate, the Ducks continued to put runners on base but couldn't deliver.
"Situational hitting is the key to winning," manager Kevin Baez said. "Productive outs, manufacturing runs, that's how you win ballgames. We need to do a better job."
The Ducks (19-16) stranded 13 runners, four of whom were left at third base.
"Today was kind of what's been going on this year. It was magnified today with the situational hitting," said centerfielder Lew Ford, who went 2-for-6. "We've been pitching pretty well. Played good defense today, too. We just couldn't get the big hit when we needed it."
The Ducks got the scoring started in the first. Bryan Sabatella led off with a walk and advanced to third on a double by Ford. Two batters later, Jon Griffin went opposite field for a two-run single.
The Revolution (15-20) got a run back in the third, but Sabatella's RBI groundout in the fourth gave the Ducks a 3-1 lead.
Eric Patterson's RBI groundout made the score 3-2 in the fifth before Andres Perez launched a fastball from Ducks starter Ian Marshall about eight feet up the scoreboard in left-centerfield for a home run that tied the score at 3 in the sixth.
Marshall allowed two earned runs in 51/3 innings before giving way to the bullpen. The Ducks' relievers were upstaged by York's bullpen, which went 9 2/3 scoreless.
"It's frustrating because we had opportunities," Ford said. "Our pitching kept us in the game, but so did theirs."