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Francisco Rodriguez injured in Game 1 of doubleheader against Lancaster

Ducks closer Francisco Rodriguez suffered a gluteus strain in the final inning of the Ducks' 8-7 victory over the Lancaster Barnstormers — the first game of a doubleheader Wednesday night at Bethpage Ballpark in Central Islip, the Ducks said.

“It just happened," Ducks manager Kevin Baez said. "We won’t know [the seriousness] until he sees the doctor.”

Rodriguez blew his third save of the season, wasting a two-run lead in the top of the seventh.

Both games of the doubleheader were scheduled for seven innings, something that’s allowed for twin bills in the Atlantic League.

Rodriguez, who has 25 saves this season and is tied for second in the Atlantic League, walked two batters and gave up a three-run home run to Josh Bell in the top of the seventh that gave Lancaster a 7-6 lead. Rodriguez only recorded one out and walked off the mound with the Ducks trainer.

Jordany Valdespin’s walk-off-single in the bottom of the seventh drove in Miles Williams and lifted the Ducks to victory. David Washington led off the seventh with a home run to tie the score at 7.

“One thing we try to preach is, never give up your at-bats and keep grinding, keep getting after it," Baez said. "You never know what’s going to happen.”

Valdespin went 2-for-5 with a home run, a run and three RBIs in the first game. Daniel Fields went 2-for-3 with three runs and Lew Ford went 4-for-4 with two RBIs.

Southampton native Chris Pike, making his fourth start with the Ducks, allowed four runs and five hits in four innings. He struck out one batter and walked three.

“He’s confident," Baez said. "He’s been throwing a lot more strikes lately. He looks like he knows what he’s doing out there.”

After pitching a one-two-three first inning, Pike ran into trouble in the second — allowing three runs and erasing a 1-0 Ducks lead.

But the Ducks picked Pike up with three runs of their own in the bottom of the second — a two-run home run by Valdespin and an RBI double from Ford that gave the Ducks a 4-3 lead.

Pike pitched a scoreless third inning but, thanks in part to a throwing error by catcher Dioner Navarro, allowed Lancaster to scrape a run across in the fourth and tie the score at 4.

But Ford, 42-years-old and playing as well as he has in years, drove in Fields with an RBI double in the bottom of the fourth to give the Ducks and Pike a 5-4 lead. The Ducks added another run in the fifth inning when Bell, a third baseman, threw the ball in the dirt trying to get speedy Patchogue-native Anthony Vega at first base and Washington scored.

Ducks fall in Game 2. The Ducks (30-17) barely missed their second walk-off win of the night in the second game, instead falling to the Barnstormers, 7-5, in eight innings. Lancaster scored two runs in the top of the eighth to split the doubleheader. The Ducks fought back from a 5-1 deficit and scored two in the bottom of the seventh to tie the score at 5, but Washington flew out with the bases loaded.

The Ducks still have breathing room in the Liberty Division second half race as August winds down. They hold a four-game lead over the Somerset Patriots with 16 games to play. Somerset won the first half and are already in the playoffs.

New York Sports