Binghamton 6, New Britain 3
The Binghamton Mets caught the New Britain Rock Cats at the right time. The Mets, winners of six of their last seven games, opened a series with the Rock Cats, losers of seven straight, Monday night in New Britain. The Mets sent their new staff ace to the mound in Logan Verrett, so adorned due to Rafael Montero’s promotion, and Verrett did not disappoint. His final line reads 6IP, 3ER, 9H, 0BB and 10K. Most of the damage against Verrett came in his sixth and final inning as his pitch count, along with his fastball, crept up.
Verrett pitched four absolutely dominating innings, excluding the sixth and a shaky first. He opened with a strikeout, and then surrendered a single to James Bereford and a double to Deibinson Romero. The second guessing began early as New Britain manager and third base coach, Jeff Smith, held Beresford at third. With only one out and the cleanup hitter and Eastern League’s leading RBI man Josmil Pinto coming up, Smith opted to play it safe. From the looks of it, the play would have been close, but the throw in from Cesar Puello and the relay home would had to have been perfect to nail Beresford. Pinto proceeded to hit a soft liner over shortstop that Daniel Muno snared in midair using all of his 5’11”. The ball had RBI single written all over it had Muno not timed his leap perfectly and made a gem of a play. Verrett then notched his second strike out to escape the jam. The Rock Cats seemingly missed an opportunity there.
In the defense of Smith, he likely didn’t want to run himself out of a big inning because the Mets had a 3-0 lead before Verrett even threw a pitch. Rock Cats starter and local Pat Dean (Naugatuck, CT) didn’t have it at the start. The Mets jumped all over him early and often, stringing together four straight hits capped by a long Allan Dykstra home run. Even the outs were hit hard. The Mets managed to scratch together another run in the second on a Muno single, followed by a Josh Rodriguez RBI double, so after a possible miscue on the bases, the Rock Cats were down four before they came up to bat again, but by then, Verrett had shaken off the first inning.
He faced only the minimum six batters over the next two innings, using a double play ball to erase a third inning single. In the fourth, Romero greeted Verrett rudely, parking a 2-1 pitch well over the 400 ft. sign in straight away center. Verrett then proceeded to throw ten straight strikes (the final batter fouled off an 0-2 pitch) to retire the side. He allowed a leadoff double in the fifth, but didn’t allow the runner to advance from there and got the next three.
In the Mets half of the fifth inning, the top of the order was at it again. Including getting the third out of the second inning, Dean was settled down at this point, having retired eight straight. But Rodriguez worked a walk, and Puello and Dykstra followed with consecutive doubles to bring the lead to 6-0. It could have been worse, as Cory Vaughn gave a middle-middle meatball a ride to the deepest part of the ballpark, but center fielder Johnathan Goncalves chased it down just shy of the track.
It started to unravel for Verrett in the sixth. Four of the first five hitters hit safely to plate two runs, including Romero’s third hit in three trips. Romero was the only Rock Cats hitter that seemed to have Verrett figured out. He was the only hitter Verrett didn’t retire and one of only two (along with Beresford) that Verrett didn’t strike out. The second RBI in the inning came on a two-strike single, the kind that really hurts. Verrett buckled down to get the next two and get out the jam, stranding a runner and keeping the game at 6-3.
That was all the scoring for either side, as Adam Kolarek and Jeff Walters combined for three scoreless innings. Each allowed only one baserunner, and the single Walters gave up was retired swiftly on a double play. The Mets did threaten in the seventh, advancing runners to second and third with just one out, but a strikeout and groundout yielded no runs.
Through five innings, Verrett was masterful. He struck out nine hitters while allowing five hits and no walks. Despite his shaky sixth inning, Verrett still threw 65 of his 93 pitches for strikes and an amazing 20 first pitch strikes to the 26 batters he faced. He had everything working till the sixth. All the hits surrendered in that inning came on pitches just above the belt. Verrett was tiring and letting his pitches sail a little. He deserves credit for getting out of the inning without further damage, and also credit Mets manager Pedro Lopez for allowing Verrett to get through it on his own and finish the inning.
Offensively, Rodriguez, Puello and Dykstra led the charge. The 2-3-4 hitters combined to go 7-12 with two walks and a hit by pitch. Puello got plunked in the seventh. Of the six runs the Mets scored, those three scored five and drove in all six.
Josh Rodriguez: 2-for-3, 1 2B, 2 BB, 1 RBI, 2 R
Cesar Puello: 3-for-4, 2 2B, 1 RBI, 2 R
Allan Dykstra: 2-for-5, 1 2B, 1 HR, 4 RBI, 1 R
Logan Verrett: 6.0 IP, 9 H, 1 HR, 3 ER, 10 K
Adam Kolarek: 2.0 IP, 0 H, 0 BB, 0 ER, 1 K
Jeff Walters: 1.0 IP, 1 H, 0 BB, 0 ER
NOTE: Alonzo Harris actually posted a picture on Instagram of his finger being sewed back on. He described the injury as “leaving it all on the field.” Literally…here’s the link for those who aren’t of faint of heart: http://instagram.com/p/ZjzwOmDlDy/