A grand slam opened the gates to the win.
By BRIAN RICHESSON
VINDICATOR SPORTS STAFF
NILES -- One swing of the bat changed the entire complexion of the game.
Designated hitter Humberto Aliendo hit a grand slam off Brian Curtin in the eighth inning as the Williamsport Crosscutters defeated the Mahoning Valley Scrappers 8-1 Friday at Cafaro Field.
"That's how quickly the game can be turned around," Williamsport manager Tony Beasley said. "You're always one pitch from getting out of the inning and one pitch from blowing the game out of proportion."
Aliendo's home run broke a 1-1 tie, and the Crosscutters (34-15) closed out the six-run inning with a two-run single by Matt Meath.
"We were looking for the ground ball," Scrappers manager Dave Turgeon said of Aliendo's hit that cleared the left-field wall. "The pitch just got away from him. Curtin's been pitching out of jams all year."
The inning unfolded after Turgeon chose to intentionally walk Williamsport slugger Walter Young with a base-runner on second. Young earlier had tied the score 1-1 with a ground-rule double to right.
"He beat us once to tie the game," Turgeon said. "I wasn't going to let Young beat me. The guy owns us."
Mendoza effective: The Scrappers (14-36) wasted a strong outing by starting pitcher Marcos Mendoza, who held the Crosscutters to one run on three hits in 51/3 innings.
"That's three starts in a row that he's thrown very effective," Turgeon said. "When he keeps the ball down, his stuff is nasty."
But the Scrappers' bullpen couldn't stop the Crosscutters, who proved to be a terror on the base-paths again.
After stealing five bases in a 9-2 win Thursday, Williamsport stole six more Friday. Domingo Cuello had three Friday and five for the two-game series.
"That's what we do," Beasley said. "We're an aggressive team. We win playing aggressive and we lose playing aggressive."
De Los Santos tough: Complementing the Crosscutters' balanced attack was right-handed starter Carlos De Los Santos, who allowed one run on two hits in seven innings. He walked three and struck out six.
"He has some spurts where he works behind in the count, but tonight he regained his composure," Beasley said.
De Los Santos and reliever Jeff Dutremble combined to limit the Scrappers to just the two hits.
"He threw strikes, and his ball had nice movement," Turgeon said of De Los Santos. "He started to get more confident with his breaking ball."
Quintana connects: The Scrappers took a 1-0 lead in the fourth inning when Miguel Quintana hit a solo home run that landed on top of the indoor batting cage in right field.
"Unfortunately, the manager put on the hit and run before that [when Josh Bard was caught stealing], and [the pitcher] threw it up and in," Turgeon said. "[Quintana] had no chance to hit it. It could have been 2-0."
Mendoza got through the first inning with just 11 pitches, and he escaped trouble in the second and third innings after Crosscutters reached scoring position.
Mendoza ended the third inning when he picked off Cuello, who had stolen second and third base, at third.
Double play: The Scrappers' defense backed Mendoza in the fourth inning with a double play, which was symbolic of the sharp grabs it made on hard-hit balls.
After hitting Meath and recording an out in the sixth, Mendoza was replaced by Mark Turnbow, who allowed Meath to score the tying run on Young's double.
Curtin and Ron Colvard followed Turnbow to the mound.
Meath cf3112Malave cf3000
Cuello 2b5120Bard dh2000
Shelton c4010Quintana rf4111
Young 1b3121Morton 1b3000
Bautista 3b5111Kirby lf3010
Aliendo dh5124Peshke 3b3000
Cortes lf2110Guglielmelli c2000
Cruz ss4000Uegawachi ss3000
Cabrera rf3100Made 2b3000
DeLa Cruz ph1100
E--Uegawachi, Made. DP--Mahoning Valley 1, Williamsport 1. LOB--Williamsport 7, Mahoning Valley 3. HR--Quintana, Aliendo. 2B--Aliendo, Kirby, Young, Cortes. SB--Cuello 3, Meath, Cortes, Cabrera. CS--Bard, Malave. PO--Cuello.
De Los Santos W, 4-1721136
Curtin L, 1-31-345511
WP--Mendoza, Colvard 2. HBP--Bard (by De Los Santos), Meath (by Mendoza). Umpires--Steve Bretz, home; Jason Day, bases. T--2:53. A--4,958.
HOW THEY SCORED
MAHONING VALLEY 1, WILLIAMSPORT 0
Scrappers: Josh Bard was hit by a pitch, thrown out at second trying to steal. Miguel Quintana homered over the right-field wall. Rickie Morton walked, Brian Kirby hit into a double play, Morton out at second, Kirby out at first. 1 run, 1 hit, 0 errors, 0 left.
MAHONING VALLEY 1, WILLIAMSPORT 1
Crosscutters: Matt Meath was hit by a pitch, reached second by stealing. Domingo Cuello flied out to center. Pitcher Marcos Mendoza exited for reliever Mark Turnbow. Chris Shelton struck out. Walter Young doubled down right-field line, Meath scored. Jose Bautista flied out to right. 1 run, 1 hit, 0 errors, 1 left.
WILLIAMSPORT 7, MAHONING VALLEY 1
Crosscutters: Brian Curtin pitching. Cuello singled to center, reached second by stealing. Shelton struck out. Young was intentionally walked, Bautista singled up the middle to load the bases. Humberto Aliendo hit a grand slam over the left-field wall, Cuello, Young, Bautista scored. Jorge Cortes doubled to left. Pitcher Ron Colvard replaces Curtin. Alex Cruz struck out. Yoelmis Cabrera walked. Cortes advanced to third, Cabrera to second on a wild pitch. Meath singled to center, Cortes, Cabrera scored. Cuello grounded out to second. 6 runs, 5 hits, 0 errors, 1 left.
WILLIAMSPORT 8, MAHONING VALLEY 1
Crosscutters: Shelton singled to left, pinch hitter Miguel DeLa Cruz hit into a fielder's choice, Shelton out at second. DeLa Cruz reached second on an error by the second baseman and third on a wild pitch. Bautista grounded out to third, DeLa Cruz scored. Aliendo grounded out to short. 1 run, 1 hit, 1 error, 0 left.