Never underestimate the power of being fed up. When it comes to the Ducks and the Sugar Land Skeeters, the feeling would be more than understandable. Despite losing 14 of their first 17 meetings this season and being dominated on the mound for most of the 18th game, the Ducks refused to lay down last night at Bethpage Ballpark in Central Islip.
But, not laying down and winning don't always go hand in hand. After the Ducks tied it in the eighth inning, Sugar Land found a way to win yet again, scoring two in the 10th inning to beat the Ducks, 5-3.
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"It's a tough loss, but that's baseball," designated hitter Ray Navarrete said. "It says a lot about our team. We didn't give up. We came back late. Sugar Land is a tough team. You can't make any mistakes against them."
A two-run single by Steve Moss in the top of the 10th broke a 3-3 tie and spoiled the fireworks for the sold-out crowd. Moss drove in Kevin Rios and Adam Godwin. Godwin reached on a error when he tried to bunt Rios over.
"When they give you an out, you have to take the out," Ducks manager Kevin Baez said. "That's big. Now it's first and second with nobody out."
Ducks reliever Erick Threets took the loss. He tossed two innings, allowing one earned run and one unearned run on three hits.
"Threets looked good the inning before and threw only nine pitches, so we went back out with him," Baez said.
The Ducks tied the game in the bottom of the eighth on a solo home run by Josh Barfield. Three batters earlier, Navarrete brought the Ducks to within one when he hit a two-run homer over the leftfield fence.
Sugar Land starter Ben Kozlowski needed only 53 pitches to navigate through five innings, flinching only when former Met Ramon Castro drove two pitches, one in the second and one in the fifth, to deep centerfield. But the panic was short lived. Both balls landed safely in the glove of Godwin.
After Bryant Nelson singled in the bottom of the first inning, Kozlowski retired 13 consecutive batters.
Kozlowski, who has spent most of the season coming out of the bullpen, allowed only one hit and struck out two. Coincidently, Kozlowski's only other start of the season came August 12 against the Ducks, when he also allowed only one hit over five innings with two strikeouts.
Ducks starter Bill Murphy lasted 51/3 innings, gave up two earned runs on four hits, walked five and struck out six.
After the loss, the Ducks (30-32) stood atop the Liberty Division, three games in front of Bridgeport and 31/2 games ahead of Camden with eight games remaining.