A two-run homer in the fourth inning cost Victor Kleine his first loss.
By BRIAN RICHESSON
VINDICATOR SPORTS STAFF
NILES -- Dave Turgeon knows the New York Yankees organization all too well. They drafted him in 1987.
Now the Mahoning Valley Scrappers manager, Turgeon isn't surprised by the offensive skills shown by the Yankees -- extending all the way to their Class-A farm team in Staten Island.
"They are a high-fastball hitting team, like most Yankee clubs I've ever seen," said Turgeon, after his Scrappers lost their second straight game to Staten Island, 4-1, Thursday at Cafaro Field.
"Anything up in the zone, they crush. Fastball mistakes, they crush," Turgeon said. "That is the best offensive club [the Scrappers have played this season], as far as swinging the bats."
Williamsport impressed Turgeon with its running, bunting style, which he labeled "small ball."
Hard hits: Staten Island (14-7), which has 10 runs on 23 hits in two games against the Scrappers, is the opposite, using line drives, hard hits and discipline at the plate to attack its opponent.
That was the case Thursday as Mahoning Valley (6-17) lost for the seventh time in its last eight games, including three in a row.
Off and running: Scrappers left-handed starter Victor Kleine got off to a solid start, limiting the Yankees to one hit through three innings.
But in the fourth, Staten Island designated hitter Shelley Duncan hit a two-run home run into the Scrappers bullpen in right field for a lead it didn't relinquish.
Kleine, who entered with a 1-0 record and a 1.85 earned-run average, allowed three runs on five hits, with three strikeouts and a walk, in five innings. The Yankees added their fourth run in the sixth off reliever Brian Curtin.
Bad pitches: "I didn't really feel that good," Kleine said. "My curve and change [were] there, but I wasn't locating my fastball too well. It was just a few [bad] pitches here and there; that's the way baseball is."
Turgeon said, "What happens is, you make some mistakes and guys are supposed to hit them. But he's been outstanding."
The Yankees balanced their opportune offense with another performance of pitching that silenced Scrappers bats.
Mahoning Valley was held to three hits -- singles by Curtis Gay and Angel Bastardo in the second inning and a double by Maximo Made in the eighth. At one point, Yankee pitching retired 10 straight Scrappers.
"We're not the only team that's been in this position," Turgeon said of his team's lack of production. "It's going to come together for them. I believe it's going to happen."
Sacrifice fly: The Scrappers' run came in the eighth on shortstop Zach Sorensen's sacrifice fly.
"Sometimes, when the pitching is good, the hitting isn't good," Bastardo said. "When the hitting is good, the pitching isn't good. So, we have to get those two together."
To turn their season around, the Scrappers must build their confidence and discipline, Bastardo said.
Symbolizing the Scrappers' struggles this season was a sixth-inning play that snuffed a potential rally.
Dennis Malave led off with a walk, but he took off on a sprint around the bases on Made's fly-ball out to left field. Staten Island easily doubled up Malave at first. Sorensen ended the inning by flying out to center.
"I watched the ball, and I saw the guy catch it," Turgeon said. "I look up and see Denny. It's just one of those moments. It happens to everybody."
STATEN ISLANDMAHONING VALLEY
Thompson cf4000Sorensen ss3001
Cannizaro 2b5011Peshke dh4000
Griffin lf5120Quintana rf4000
Duncan dh5222Gay 1b2010
Rifkin 1b4000Van Every cf3000
Segar rf4021Bastardo c3010
Martin 3b4000Finnerty 3b2000
Mendez ss4110Malave lf1000
Santos c4020Thompson lf1100
E--Finnerty. DP--Staten Island 2. LOB--Staten Island 9, Mahoning Valley 4. HR--Duncan. 2B--Segar 2, Mendez, Duncan, Made. CS--Gay.
Arnold W, 2-06 2-320034
Russ S, 4100010
Kleine L, 1-1553313
HBP--by Strelitz (Finnerty). Umpires--Jayson Cline, home; John Blackburn, bases. T--2:16. A--5,249.
HOW THEY SCORED
YANKEES 2, SCRAPPERS 0
Yankees: Andy Cannizaro grounded out to the pitcher. John-Ford Griffin singled up the middle, Shelley Duncan homered over the right-field wall -- Griffin, Duncan scored. Aaron Rifkin grounded out to second. Jeff Segar flied out to center. 2 runs, 2 hits, 0 errors, 0 left.
YANKEES 3, SCRAPPERS 0
Yankees: Chris Martin grounded out to second. Deivi Mendez doubled to right, Omir Santos struck out. Kevin Thompson walked, Cannizaro singled to right, Mendez scored. Griffin grounded out to first. 1 run, 2 hits, 0 errors, 2 left.
YANKEES 4, SCRAPPERS 0
Yankees: Duncan doubled to left, Rifkin flied out to right, Duncan tagged and advanced to third. Segar doubled to left, Duncan scored. Martin struck out. Mendez flied out to right. 1 run, 2 hits, 0 errors, 1 left.
YANKEES 4, SCRAPPERS 1
Scrappers: Francis Finnerty hit by pitch, Eric Thompson reached on a fielder's choice, Finnerty out at second. Maximo Made doubled to right, Thompson to third. Zach Sorensen flied out to center to sacrifice Thompson home, Made to third. Chad Peshke struck out. 1 run, 1 hit, 0 errors, 1 left.