On a day when the Ducks struggled to hit early, clawed back late and saw a bounce-back performance from their starter, the bullpen was their undoing. Amalio Diaz allowed three runs in the eighth inning in a 5-3 loss to the Southern Maryland Blue Crabs on Sunday in front of 5,443 fans at Bethpage Ballpark.
Dan Lyons had three hits, Fehlandt Lentini had two and Lew Ford had the Ducks’ lone RBI as their winning streak ended at three.
With the Ducks leading 3-2 in the eighth, Diaz walked Bryant Nelson with the bases loaded. The next batter, Angel Flores, drove in Zach Wilson and Darby Myers with a single to centerfield.
“It’s very frustrating,” manager Kevin Baez said. “Usually when we’re leading in the seventh, we feel pretty good about our chances. But today Diaz didn’t get the job done.”
The Ducks took a 3-2 lead in the seventh. Mike Blanke scored on a passed ball and Lentini scored on a throwing error by shortstop Steve Lombardozzi.
Brian Burres frustrated the Ducks (14-9) early. Burres allowed two runs and four hits in 6 1⁄3 innings, struck out five and walked three. Justin Berg, who pitched a scoreless eighth, earned the win for Southern Maryland (7-17). Cody Eppley picked up his second save.
Ducks starter Bobby Blevins was sharp, allowing two runs, six hits and two walks in six innings, striking out six. In Blevins’ last start, Tuesday against Somerset, he allowed four runs in 5 2⁄3 innings.
The Blue Crabs got both their runs off Blevins in the third. Gary Brown reached on a swinging bunt that landed only a few feet down the third base line. Blevins, who believed the ball was foul and attempted to keep it that way with his glove, argued with plate umpire Kris Engstrand after Brown was ruled safe.
“It’s a tough call,” Blevins said. “It was fast and quick.’’
The call stood, and Brown scored on Zach Wilson’s double. One batter later, Jamar Walton drove in Wilson with a single to give Southern Maryland a 2-0 lead.