The Ducks remain within striking distance in the Atlantic League’s Liberty Division.
Sunday’s 8-1 win over the Bridgeport Bluefish in front of 5,589 fans at Bethpage Ballpark in Central Islip moved the Ducks within 1 1⁄2 games of the second-place Bluefish and four games behind the division-leading Somerset Patriots with three weeks left in the first half. The first-half champion earns an automatic berth in the playoffs.
“All you can ask for is an opportunity and have a chance to make it happen,” manager Kevin Baez said. “It’ll be difficult, but at least we’re in a position to have a chance.”
Marc Krauss went 2-for-4 with a home run and four RBIs. Angelo Songco was 2-for-4 with a solo home run.
The Ducks (26-24) struggled against Bridgeport’s Chris Rearick in the first five innings but tagged the bullpen for five runs in the sixth. After Riverhead native Danny Burawa walked the first three batters in the sixth and was pulled, Jordan Pacheco’s two-run single off Zac Grotz gave the Ducks a 2-1 lead. An RBI single by Elmer Reyes and a two-run double by Krauss capped the inning.
“Guys just really started having good at-bats,” Krauss said. “Obviously, when their guy comes in and walks the first three, it’s not a recipe for success for them. But we were able to take advantage of it and came up with some big hits.”
In the eighth, Songco’s leadoff homer and Krauss’ two-run shot made it 8-1.
Ducks starter Dennis O’Grady threw five solid innings, allowing one run and four hits with five strikeouts. The Floral Park native, who was pitching on three days’ rest, worked out of jams in the first and second innings before retiring 10 of the final 13 batters he faced.
Eury De La Rosa earned the win in relief. Burawa took the loss for Bridgeport (28-23).
Notes & quotes: Tim Melville, who had emerged as one of the Ducks’ most effective starters, had his contract purchased by the Minnesota Twins late Saturday. He will join the team’s Triple-A affiliate in Rochester, N.Y. Melville, who was 3-4 with a 3.45 ERA in nine starts, tied the franchise record with 14 strikeouts in a 2-0 win over the New Britain Bees on Wednesday. Former Duck and current Dodgers starter Rich Hill struck out 14 in 2015 and Mike Loree did it in 2011.