The Tri-City Valleycats had lost their last three games going into Saturday night's game against the Brooklyn Cyclones. It was billed as Southpaw's Birthday Fiesta, with Latin-themed music playing through the course of the night. It was also Faith & Family Night, as groups from a small number of local churches, none, apparently, from Troy, were in attendance.
The fun started early with the Birthday Base Race between innings in the first. This is one of the worked events the promotions department puts on, where Southpaw normally loses to a young fan who's having a birthday party. This time, Southpaw was joined by a number of fellow mascots, including Damian, the Great Dane (UAlbany), and the Hot Dog Racers (Ketchup, Relish, & Mustard). Poor Relish never wins a race, and this was no exception, as Ribbie, Southpaw's sidekick, provided a distraction to allow Southpaw to win for a change. Damian played a part, too, as he "came up lame" at 2nd base. This ain't wrestling, folks, but it's certainly influenced by it.
For the home team, Bryan De La Cruz put the 'Cats on the board with a lead-off homer in the bottom of the first, De La Cruz's 1st with the 'Cats as he's on a injury rehab assignment from Corpus Christi, methinks. Brooklyn starter Luis De Los Santos lost the strike zone in the 3rd, giving up 2 more runs, forcing Cyclones manager Edgardo Alfonzo to go to his bullpen a wee bit earlier than he'd prefer.
One of the newest 'Cats, Leovanny Rodriguez, got the start, and went 4 innings due to pitch count, unable to secure the win. In the judgment of the official scorer, reliever Diogenes Almengo wasn't effective enough in 2 innings to pick up the win, either, so instead, Matt Ruppenthal gets the win instead of a save. Tri-City tacked on an insurance run in the 7th, and made it stand up for a 4-1 win.
If it's any solace for the Cyclones, the parent Mets snapped a 5 game losing streak, as the 'Cats ended theirs, battering Miami, 8-1. Catcher Kevin Plawecki was recalled from Las Vegas after outfielder Curtis Granderson was dealt to the NL West leading Dodgers, as the Mets continue to trim salaries and avoid the headache of losing those same players (i.e. Granderson, Neil Walker) to free agency after the season.
Brooklyn's 2nd trip to Troy continues later today, as the 'Cats continue a late push to the playoffs.