There was a lot less fanfare Friday night at Canal Park for the second game of the Aeros season, but the results were exactly the same.
The host Aeros dropped their second consecutive game 2-1 to the visiting Binghamton Mets, the Aeros bats once again as cold as the chilly, windy weather that began at 38 degrees with a stiff 21 mph wind and dipped to 33 by the time the near three-hour affair was over.
For the second consecutive night, the Aeros starting pitcher fared well, but was still a bit one-upped by his Binghamton mound mate before both sides turned the fate of the game over to their respective bullpens.
Once again the Aeros had a shot to tie or win the game in the ninth inning with a runner in scoring position, but came up short as the Mets bullpen shook but never collapsed.
With Mets closer Jack Leathersich struggling to find his command in his Double-A debut, the Aeros found themselves with runners at first and second bases with two outs and pinch hitter Chun Chen at the plate.
In the same situation in Thursday’s season opener, Chen struck out to end the threat. This time, he worked a walk with Leatherisch’s offerings all over the place. But Tyler Holt wasn’t as lucky, halting the Aeros rally with a strikeout of his own that left him visably upset - throwing his bat to the ground in disgust.
Aeros starting pitcher T.J. House limited the Mets to a run on five hits, did not walk a batter and struck out five. But the left-hander’s counterpart, right-hander Cory Mazzoni, held the Aeros to an unearned run on four hits, issued one walk and struck out seven.
With two outs in the bottom of the second inning, the Aeros loaded the bases against Mazzoni, who is ranked by Baseball America as the parent-club New York Mets 10th best prospect in its farm system. Mazzoni managed to strike out Delvi Cid to seemingly end the threat. But the inning wasn’t over just yet.
That’s because the pitch skirted away from Mets catcher Juan Centeno and by the time he recovered enough to grab the errant ball to his right in the dirt, Aeros catcher Roberto Perez was bearing down on him from third base. Although Centeno turned towards first base as if he was going to try to get the last out there, he froze momentarily. It was a long enugh pause to keep him from having a clear play and allowed Perez to score uncontested to give the Aeros a 1-0 lead.
In the sixth inning, Binghamton evened the score 1-1 with a run-scoring groundout by Daniel Muno. Although House had given way to Aeros reliever Fabio Martinez, he did so with two men on base, therefore, the run belonged to House. After giving up the run, Martinez walked former Aeros shortstop Josh Rodriguez. But Perez caught Rodriguez trying to swipe second base and Martinez rebounded to strike out Rhyne Hughes to limit the Mets production to the one run.
But Binghamton pulled ahead without the aid of a hit in the seventh, taking advantage of Martinez being wild. In just an inning of work in relief of House, Martinez issued two walks, a wild pitch and hit a batter before giving way to right-hander Kyle Landis.
Landis (an Eastern League All-Star last season) was ordered to intentionally walk Francisco Pena (the son of current New York Yankees bench coach and former Indians catcher Tony Pena) to load the bases with one out. Landis obliged and the strategy nearly worked save for an error and fielder’s choice that allowed Cory Vaughn (son of former major leaguer Greg Vaughn) to score and hand the Mets a late 2-1 lead.