At least that’s what it felt like Wednesday night at Bethpage Ballpark when the Ducks and York Revolution needed a combined 13-pitchers to settle things in a four hour, 18 minute marathon Game 1 in the best-of five Atlantic League Championship Series. In the end, it was the York who used a two-run eighth inning to take the opener, 8-7, in front of 3,026 fans.
“It’s a bitter feeling right now,” manager Kevin Baez said. “I know they’re trying to throw strikes and do well. But we have to try and slow the game down. We can’t give them extra outs. They have a good lineup over there and we gave them extra outs.”
Alonzo Harris’ single drove in Ryan Dent to break a tie at 6 and Rubi Silva’s RBI single drove in Chase Simpson and added the much-needed insurance run.
The Ducks scored one in the eighth when Giovanny Alfonzo’s sacrifice fly drove in Delta Cleary Jr, but Elmer Reyes’ ground out ended the inning with York still in front.
Grant Sides earned the win for York and James Jones took the loss for the Ducks.
“We have to play better down the stretch,” Baez said. “We have to throw strikes.”
After the Ducks took a 5-4 lead in the bottom of the sixth, a combination of Dustin Richardson and Matt Marsh allowed two runs in the top of the seventh.
Marsh walked Isaias Tejada with two outs after getting ahead 1-and-2 to force in Silva and tie the score at 5. York’s next batter, Travis Witherspoon singled to drive in Telvin Nash and give York the lead.
“I think the biggest pitch of that at-bat was the 1-and-2,” Marsh said. “I was supposed to throw an elevated fastball and I spiked it down. That was the game changer in that at-bat . . . I threw a good 2-and-2 breaking ball and he spit on it. It was a good pitch, where I wanted to throw it, but I have to make that 3-and-2 pitch. There’s nowhere to put him.”
But, the Ducks tied the score at 6 in the bottom of the inning when Lew Ford legged out an infield single to drive in Dan Lyons. Cleary Jr’s RBI single up the middle in the sixth inning drove in Alex Burg and put the Ducks ahead 5-4.
The Ducks fought back from a 4-0 deficit with four runs in the fifth. Ford’s single to left drove in Giovanny Alfonzo and tied it. Earlier in the inning, Dan Lyons’ two-run double drove in Cleary Jr. and Anthony Vega to cut the Revolution lead to 4-2.
The big hit chased York starter Jay Gause who allowed three runs and three hits in 4 1⁄3 innings. Gause struck out three and walked four and, as the Revolution’s first base coach, was ejected for arguing balls and strikes in the seventh.
Talk about a bad night.
Ducks starter Matt Larkins, who was awarded the Game 1 start over the ailing John Brownell, was not sharp early. After Larkins allowed a three-run home run to Michael Burgess in the third, he found himself and the Ducks in a 4-0 hole.
Larkins settled down in the middle innings, retiring seven of the final eight batters he faced to keep the Ducks in pouncing position. Larkins allowed four runs and seven hits in five innings. He struck out five and walked three.