The first two times the Aeros got their leadoff man on base with a chance to win the game, they squandered the opportunity.
They weren’t going to let it happen for a third consecutive inning, though, as Tyler Holt finally came around to score after his leadoff walk in the bottom of the 11th inning Friday night to give the Aeros a 4-3 Eastern League victory over the Binghamton Mets in front of a crowd of 7,852 at Canal Park.
Jake Lowery singled to move Holt to third base with no outs and Giovanny Urshela roped a line drive up the middle for the walkoff single.
Tyler Naquin, the Indians’ first-round draft pick in 2012, got things started early with an opposite-field double down the left-field line in the first inning.
Naquin advanced to third on a wild pitch and later scored on a Jesus Aguilar single, giving Aguilar his league-leading 99th RBI.
On the Aguilar single, Carlos Moncrief, who walked in the previous at-bat, displayed great, aggressive base-running, advancing from first to third on a ball that not many would have.
He scored on a Holt sacrifice fly, giving the Aeros (63-68) a 2-0 lead.
The Moncrief show continued in the third inning, when he singled, advanced to second on an Aguilar single, and then stole third.
Holt then laid down a sacrifice bunt that was meant to move Aguilar into scoring position instead of being a squeeze. However, Mets first basemen Joe Bonfe wasn’t quite attentive enough after recording the out and Moncrief broke for home, giving the Aeros a 3-0 lead.
Aeros starter Brett Brach turned in what might be his most impressive outing of the year, not allowing a base runner until the third inning and holding the Mets (81-51) scoreless until the fourth.
Brach went 7⅓ innings, his longest outing of the season, allowing three earned runs on four hits and two walks, striking out three.
Brach can thank his defense in part for his excellent outing. The Aeros made several sensational plays in the field, all with runners on base.
In the third inning, Moncrief made a full-extension diving catch in right field, coming in and moving to his right.
The following play was a sharply hit chopper down the first-base line in which Aguilar reacted quickly, diving and smacking the bag with his glove while laying face down to end the inning.
In the sixth inning, Naquin topped them all with a Jim Edmonds-esque over-the-shoulder diving catch on a dead sprint to the warning track.
After the Mets scored two runs in the fourth on two two-out hits by Travis Taijeron and Blake Forsythe, the score remained 3-2 until the eighth inning.
Brach, who had not pitched into the eighth all season, got the first guy out but then allowed a walk, steal and single that tied the score at 3-3 and ended his night.
Jeff Johnson and Bryce Stowell relieved Brach with 1⅔ innings of scoreless work before Kyle Blair came in, making his Aeros debut.
His debut did not end on a high note, though, as he was removed from the game in the 11th inning with an undisclosed injury.
Shawn Armstrong, who relieved Blair following his injury, picked up the win after striking out the only batter he faced. He improved to 2-3.
Aguilar led the Aeros at the plate, going 3-for-5 with an RBI. Naquin, Moncrief, Lowery and Urshela each reached base twice.