The Ducks put together a lineup stacked with former major-leaguers Sunday afternoon, but starter John Brownell just didn’t have it early and there was nothing anyone could do about it.
Brownell, who also is the team’s pitching coach, allowed six runs (three earned) in four innings in the Ducks’ 6-4 loss to the Sugar Land Skeeters in front of 3,779 fans at Bethpage Ballpark in Central Islip. The Ducks lost two of three games to Sugar Land this weekend.
Brownell struck out five, walked three and wasn’t helped by his defense, which made three errors while he was on the mound. The Ducks committed four errors overall.
“You try not to think about it, because they’re trying their hardest,” Brownell said of the errors. “Conditions weren’t the greatest, with the wet grass and stuff. As a pitcher, you don’t really think about what the defense is doing or how they’re playing. You’re trying to execute your job, and if you get distracted by how the defense is performing that day, then you’re not going to have very much success.”
The bullpen kept the Ducks (8-7) in the game, pitching five scoreless innings to run its streak to 16 dating to Wednesday. But aside from a four-run fourth that featured two-run homers by David Washington and Wilkin Castillo, the Ducks’ offense was cold. They struck out 15 times.
Lew Ford, representing the winning run, struck out on a 3-and-2 pitch from Sugar Land closer Felipe Paulino to end the game.
“It was a good pitch on 3-2,” said Ford, who went 1-for-5 with a run. “I didn’t think it was a strike, but he got the call. It was a good pitch.”
On paper, the Ducks put together a lineup that would be hard to match in the Atlantic League. Six of their first seven hitters — Jordany Valdespin, Emilio Bonifacio, Travis Snider, Ford, Washington and Castillo — have played in the major leagues and, with the exception of Washington and Castillo, had a degree of success there. They have played in a combined 2,220 major-league games.
The “major-league six’’ went a combined 7-for-26 with two home runs, three runs and four RBIs.
Brownell faced eight batters in the first inning but limited the damage to two runs. Third baseman Cody Puckett’s one-out throwing error allowed Barrett Barnes and Anthony Giansanti to score. Giansanti hit a two-run homer over the leftfield fence in the second to give Sugar Land a 4-0 lead, and two more errors in the fourth led to two more Skeeter runs and a 6-0 lead.
Sugar Land starter Ben Griset allowed four runs, seven hits and a walk with seven strikeouts in 4 2⁄3 innings. Dallas Beeler pitched 2 1⁄3 scoreless innings and struck out four to get the win for the Skeeters (10-5).