Yes, Quackerjack, there will be a Game 4. Backed by a fantastic performance by starter Lorenzo Barcelo, the Ducks won their first Atlantic League Championship Series game since 2013 to make it 2-1 in the best-of-five series.
A 3-2 victory over the Sugar Land Skeeters in front of 3,460 fans at Bethpage Ballpark in Central Islip Friday night injected some life into the Ducks, who lost Game 2 by 10 runs. Game 4 is scheduled for Saturday night and, if necessary, Game 5 is Sunday. Both are in Central Islip.
David Washington’s mammoth two-out, two-run home run in the eighth inning put the Ducks in front for good. The blast put an end to a night of offensive frustration for the Ducks and lifted them from the brink of elimination to outright jubilation. Washington, who rarely shows emotion, stutter-stepped as he rounded first base.
Fitting for a season-saving home run.
“He can hit some bombs,” manager Kevin Baez said. “We’ve seen it all year. He’s hit them all over the field. He was the right man in the right situation.”
“It was a slider,” Washington said. “I was just looking for something over the heart of the plate that I could put good wood on. I got it and was able to get the barrel to it … We’ve been fighting together all season and to be able to come through for the guys in a big moment like that is huge … It’s a one-game series tomorrow.”
“I was in the clubhouse putting ice on my arm,” said Barcelo, “and somebody came and said, ‘Hey, we’re up 3-2.’ I screamed as loud as I could. We had no other day.”
Fernando Abad pitched a scoreless ninth and earned the save.
“It just allows us to play [Saturday], Baez said. “We’ll be happy and celebrate it tonight and come back tomorrow for BP and do what we do every day…It just allows us to play tomorrow and that’s all we wanted to do.”
Barcelo, despite some early rockiness and a Ducks error, was as good as he’s been this season. The 41-year-old allowed two runs (one earned), six hits, struck out five, and walked one in seven innings.
“I left everything I had on the field,” he said. “I came prepared for this game because we don’t have another chance like we do. They lost, they’re still playing. If we lost, we went home.”
The Skeeters wasted little time getting to Barcelo. Albert Cordero’s double in the first inning drove in Matt Chavez and gave the Skeeters a 1-0 lead. A two-out double in the third by Tony Thomas drove in Juan Silverio, who had reached on an error to lead off the inning, to put the Skeeters ahead 2-0.
The Ducks cut the Skeeters’ lead in half in the third inning. Lew Ford’s double drove in Jordany Valdespin to make it 2-1, but Washington struck out with Ford on third to end the inning.
After the rocky start, Barcelo settled in and was very good. After Thomas’ third-inning double, he retired 11 batters in a row.
Sugar Land starter Lucas Irvine did not give his team length, but he did leave with the lead. He allowed one run and four hits, struck out three, and walked two in four innings.
The Ducks had some early missed chances. Dan Lyons grounded out with the bases loaded to end the second inning. Rubi Silva grounded into an inning-ending double play with a runner on first in the sixth, and Valdespin hit into a double play with a runner on first to end the seventh.