By BRIAN RICHESSON
VINDICATOR SPORTS STAFF
NILES -- If it wasn't for Harold Eckert and a couple of home runs, the Mahoning Valley Scrappers might be playing for a sweep of the Brooklyn Cyclones tonight.
Eckert and reliever Ryan Olson combined on a two-hitter as Brooklyn shut down the Scrappers 7-2 Thursday at Cafaro Field.
The right-handed Eckert (7-1) pitched six innings, allowing one unearned run on two hits while striking out three and walking one. His effort helped stop the Scrappers (20-42), who had won the first two games of the four-game series.
"He got all of his pitches over. He was working ahead and throwing strikes," said Cyclones pitching coach Bob Ojeda, a former major leaguer. "He wasn't walking people, which is the name of the game because it sets up a situation for problems.
"I would much rather have guys hit their way on than walk."
Hit parade: That's exactly what Brooklyn's offense did.
Scrappers starting pitcher Victor Kleine cruised through the first three innings before Brooklyn (45-19) made its move in the fourth.
Jay Caligiuri's RBI double preceded a two-run home run by Frank Corr, who raised his New York-Penn League-leading total to 12. Corr's homer hit hard off the wall behind the Cyclones' bullpen in left field.
"You can see they're explosive," Scrappers manager Dave Turgeon said of the Cyclones. "It seemed whenever we made a mistake, they would take advantage and jump on it. That's the way this game is sometimes."
Two innings after Corr's hit, Noel Devarez put the Cyclones ahead 6-0 with a three-run home run to left-center off Kleine.
"Devarez hurt my team last year in the Appalachian League with the long ball," said Turgeon, referring to his stint as Rookie-League Burlington manager.
Wins have been hard to come by for Kleine (1-7), the Florence, Ky., resident. Ironically, his last victory came on June 26 against Brooklyn, but since then he's had four no-decisions to go with the seven defeats.
"Victor threw the ball way better than the numbers showed," Turgeon said.
RBI double: The Scrappers got a run back in the bottom half of the sixth inning on Chad Peshke's RBI double. Keith Lillash came home on a wild pitch in the eighth inning to account for the second run.
Curtis Gay's single in the fifth inning was the Scrappers' only other hit. It was the first of the game off Eckert.
"He kept us off-balance with breaking balls, even in fastball counts," Turgeon said of Eckert. "Whenever you do that -- at any level -- you're probably going to be in position to win a game."
The left-handed Olson recorded his second save by limiting the Scrappers to one run on no hits in the final three innings. He capped a performance that revealed why Brooklyn has the league's top pitching team.
"They've just been solid since [extended spring training]," Ojeda said of his pitchers. "They work well with our catchers, and our catchers know them. There's a continuity to the game that you get when guys are familiar with each other."
Bacani 2b5010Malave cf3000
Lawson cf5031Peshke 3b4011
Jiannetti dh5130Bard dh2000
Caligiuri 1b5221Quintana rf4000
Corr lf4112Kirby lf3000
Kay c4110Bastardo c4000
Devarez rf4113Gay 1b3010
Rodriguez 3b4010Morton ph1000
Zaragosa ss4120Uegawachi ss3000
E--Made, Eckert, Quintana. DP--Mahoning Valley 1, Brooklyn 1. LOB--Brooklyn 6, Mahoning Valley 5. HR--Corr, Devarez. 2B--Caligiuri, Peshke. CS--Lawson, Jiannetti.
Eckert W, 7-1621013
Olson S, 2301142
Kleine L, 1-76106604
WP--Kleine, Olson. Umpires--Charles Carillo, home; Bill Coble, bases. T--2:15. A--5,066.
HOW THEY SCOREDFOURTH INNINGBROOKLYN 3, MAHONING VALLEY 0
Cyclones: Joe Jiannetti singled up the middle, Jay Caligiuri doubled to left, Jiannetti scored. Frank Corr homered over the left-field wall, Caligiuri scored. Brett Kay grounded out to second. Noel Devarez flied out to right. Edgar Rodriguez reached on an error by second baseman Maximo Made. Joel Zaragosa grounded out to short. 3 runs, 3 hits, 1 error, 1 left.
BROOKLYN 6, MAHONING VALLEY 1
Cyclones: Caligiuri singled to left, Corr flied out to center. Kay singled to right, Caligiuri to second. Devarez homered over the left center field wall, Caligiuri, Kay scored. Rodriguez singled to left, Zaragosa hit into a double play, Rodriguez out at second. 3 runs, 4 hits, 0 errors, 0 left.
Scrappers: Maximo Made reached second on an error by pitcher Harold Eckert. Dennis Malave flied out to left. Chad Peshke doubled to right, Made scored. Josh Bard lined out to third. Miguel Quintana grounded out to the pitcher. 1 run, 1 hit, 1 error, 1 left.
BROOKLYN 6, MAHONING VALLEY 2
Scrappers: Bryce Uegawachi struck out. Keith Lillash walked, Malave walked, Lillash to second. Peshke flied out to center, Lillash tagged and went to third, scored on a wild pitch. Bard walked, Quintana grounded out to second. 1 run, 0 hits, 0 errors, 2 left.
BROOKLYN 7, MAHONING VALLEY 2
Cyclones: Rodriguez flied out to center. Zaragosa singled in the infield, David Bacani singled to left, Zaragosa to second. Forrest Lawson singled to right, Zaragosa scored, Bacani to third. Jiannetti struck out. Caligiuri hit into a fielder's choice, Lawson out at second. 1 run, 3 hits, 0 errors, 2 left.