Until the Brooklyn Cyclones master the art of moving runners over by well-placed ground balls or bunts, just hitting the ball hard seems to be working pretty well.
The Cyclones leaned on offensive contributions from leading hitters Vincent Siena and Jeff Diehl during Wednesday's 2-1, 12-inning win over Tri-City.
The Single-A Short Season Mets affiliate is 4-2 and in a three-way tie for first place in the New York-Penn League McNamara Division.
Centerfielder Enmanuel Zabala walked to lead off the bottom of the 12th inning, but designated hitter Michael Katz failed to advance the runner when he bunted into a force out at second. Enter Diehl, the 21-year-old first baseman who's batting .429 with a double, triple and home run in four games. Diehl tripled to right, scoring Katz with the game-winner.
The Cylones tied the score in the sixth, though attempting to plate that run also resulted in some Brooklyn blunders. Shortstop Alfredo Reyes led off with a double and catcher Natanael Ramos reached on a throwing error that moved Reyes to third. But leftfielder Tucker Tharp hit into a fielder's choice double play that cut down Reyes at home and Ramos at third. Tharp made his way to second on the play, however, and scored when Siena (.409 average) lined a single to right.
Righthander Jose Celas started for the Cyclones, striking out three in 4 2/3 innings, allowing three hits, six walks and one unearned run. Craig Missigman, Alex Palsha and Carlos Valdez combined for 7 1/3 innings of scoreless relief, striking out eight, walking two and allowing four hits.
TRIPLE-A LAS VEGAS
(41-32, 1st place in Pacific Coast League Pacific Southern)
Second baseman Wilfredo Tovar was 3-for-3, third baseman Danny Muno went 2-for-4 and DH Alex Castellanos doubled, but righthanded reliever Vic Black gave up the lead in the eighth inning and the 51s lost to Salt Lake, 5-4. Black allowed three runs, two walks and one hit - a home run - without getting an out.
Black's blowup spoiled a solid start for righthander Tyler Pill, who struck out six in five innings, allowing six hits and two runs.
(37-33, T-2nd place in Eastern League Eastern, 2 games back)
Shortstop Gavin Cecchini was 3-for-4 with a solo home run and rightfielder Jared King tripled, but the Mets fell to Harrisburg, 4-1. Righthander Michael Fulmer struck out six in seven scoreless innings, allowing three hits and one walk. Leftfielder Michael Conforto, the Mets' top pick in the 2014 draft, was 0-for-4. It was the first time in 22 Double-A games that Conforto hasn't reached base via a hit or walk. He's hitting .346 with a .448 on-base percentage and .568 slugging percentage for Binghamton.
SINGLE-A ADVANCED ST. LUCIE
(35-35, T-3rd place in Florida State League South, 10 games back)
Four Mets relievers combined to pitch eight scoreless innings, but the St. Lucie bullpen finally cracked in the bottom of the 14th, yielding a walk-off pinch-hit grand slam to Felix Munoz in Jupiter's 6-2 win.
Righthander Rob Whalen struck out four in five innings, allowing four hits, four walks and two unearned runs. Control has been an issue for Whalen recently. He walked eight batters in his first seven games but has walked 20 in his last six.
The loss marked the end of the first half of St. Lucie's season. Playoff teams are determined by first half and second half division champions. The second half of St. Lucie's season begins Thursday night vs. Bradenton.
Savannah was off. The Sand Gnats finished the first half as the South Atlantic League Southern division winner, going 39-31 with a one-game lead over second-place Greenville. Savannah secures a playoff spot and will start the second half of its season Thursday night vs. Lexington.
ROOKIE - DOMINICAN SUMMER LEAGUE METS 1
(11-11, T-5th place in DSL Boca Chica South, 5 games back)
Third baseman Rafael Valdez was 2-for-2 with two walks, catcher Hanser Ortiz went 1-for-3 with two walks and the Mets scored six runs in the top of the ninth inning for an 8-7 win over the DSL Yankees 1. With the tying run on first base for the Yankees and two outs in the bottom of the ninth, righthander Jorge Cespedes got Lisandro Blanco to ground into a force out.
ROOKIE - DOMINICAN SUMMER LEAGUE METS 2
(14-8, 2nd place in DSL San Pedro de Macoris, 2.5 games back)
Rightfielder Grabiel Jimenez was 1-for-2 with two walks, but the Mets fell to the Pirates, 12-4. Righthander Carlos Hernandez struck out five in five innings, allowing two hits, two walks and two runs (one earned).
ROOKIE - GULF COAST LEAGUE METS
(0-2, 4th place in GCL East, 2 games back)
The Mets' game against the GCL Marlins was suspended in the fourth inning, tied 3-3, due to rain. It's scheduled to be completed on July 9. Third baseman Daniel Murphy, playing in the first game of a rehab assignment as he works back from a quad injury, was 1-for-1 with a walk.
ROOKIE - KINGSPORT
(1-1, T-1st place in Appalachian League West)
Catcher Patrick Mazeika was 2-for-5 with two doubles and centerfielder Raphael Ramirez and shortstop Milton Ramos were each 2-for-4 with a walk, but the Mets lost to Johnson City, 10-5.