The Long Island Ducks' losing streak could have been called "close, but no cigar." The five-game skid included four one-run losses and two extra-inning heartbreakers.
After their Liberty Division first-half title, the Ducks sank to the bottom of the second-half standings, but the losing streak ended Sunday as they beat the Bridgeport Bluefish, 12-7, in front of 5,654 at Bethpage Ballpark.
Now 7-16 in the second half, manager Kevin Baez thinks a reversal of fortune is coming. "Right now, we just needed a win any way we could get it," he said. "It's nice to get a win, and now it's just a matter of moving forward."
Dan Lyons had four RBIs and Ray Navarrete and Joash Brodin added three RBIs and three hits each for the Ducks, who had 15 hits.
Trailing 2-0, the Ducks scored four runs in the second inning. Lyons (two hits) stroked a three-run triple to centerfield and scored on Josh Johnson's double.
"You always want to play with a lead," Lyons said. "When you get a big hit like that, momentum shifts. Everybody kind of relaxes a little bit."
Navarrete hit a two-run homer and Brodin added a three-run shot in a five-run fifth that gave the Ducks a 9-2 lead. It was the first homer as a Duck for Brodin, signed July 28. Navarrete had a run-scoring single in the sixth and Lyons added an RBI single in the seventh. With two outs in the eighth, Navarrete doubled and scored on a single by Bryant Nelson.
After allowing two in the first, Bob Zimmermann (5-5) didn't give up another run until the seventh, when the Bluefish scored twice. Connor Graham came in with runners on first and second and two outs, and after walking Luis Lopez, he got Brock Peterson to ground into a forceout. Bridgeport (13-9) scored two in the eighth off Graham before Eric Niesen recorded the final five outs, allowing only a solo homer by Peterson in the ninth.
"What we're trying to do now is just let our abilities take over and not feel for it, whether we're pitching or hitting," Baez said. "You just want to be aggressive and let it go." And after a long wait, the Ducks finally could light that victory cigar.
Notes & quotes: Matt Esquivel (hand) will be activated from the disabled list Monday. Esquivel, batting .347 with 14 RBIs in 98 at-bats, last appeared in a game June 17 . . . Brodin began the season with the Frontier League's London (Ontario) Rippers before the team folded July 25. "I feel like I've been putting good swings and hitting it hard, just right at people," said Brodin, who is batting .239 (11-for-46). "It was nice that one of them fell."