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What you need to know for 01/18/2017

ValleyCats vs. Connecticut: Tigers crush Tri-City

ValleyCats vs. Connecticut: Tigers crush Tri-City

When Tri-City first baseman A.J. Reed belted a two-run double to left-center field in the first inni

When Tri-City first baseman A.J. Reed belted a two-run double to left-center field in the first inning, it appeared that the red-hot ValleyCats were well on their way to another one-sided victory on a very successful homestand.

But the Connecticut Tigers — especially left fielder Ben Verlander — had other ideas.

Verlander, younger brother of Detroit Tigers star pitcher Justin Verlander, slammed a pair of home runs, including a grand slam, and drove in seven runs to carry the Tigers to an 18-4 New York-Penn League drubbing of the ValleyCats Tuesday before a special morning crowd of 3,772 at steamy Joseph L. Bruno Stadium.

Although the Stedler Division-leading ValleyCats (16-9) had won their first four games of the five-game homestand, their pitching let them down against the Tigers, who broke the game open with seven runs in the fourth inning.

They added four more runs in each of the sixth and eighth innings, with Verlander crushing a grand slam in the sixth and following it up with a solo shot in the eighth. His other two RBI came on a single in the fourth. He finished the day 4-for-5 and scored four times.

Reed was one of the few bright spots for the ValleyCats, as he finished 3-for-4 with three RBI, including his second homer of the season.

“They [the Tigers] did a lot of good things against us,” said Reed. “They threw a lot of strikes and mixed things up on us. We didn’t get a lot of hits when we needed them, but it’s nothing to worry about. We’re still swinging the bats well.”

Reed thought it was going to be another one-sided triumph for the ’Cats when he delivered the big double in the first inning. After all, Tri-City had scored 37 runs in their previous four games.

“I was thinking, here we go again. We were starting off like we had been,” he said. “But they [the Tigers] were hitting the ball well, and you’ve got to give them credit. I don’t think this game will affect us. They just hit the ball better than us today. We don’t change our approach just because we were down, 9-2.”

Tri-City starter Francis Ramirez (1-3) got through the first two innings without allowing a run, but he gave up a double to Franklin Navarro, a walk to Garrett Mattlage, an RBI single to Ross Kivett and an RBI double to Michael Gerber as the Tigers knotted the score at 2-2 in the third.

Ramirez gave up three of the seven runs in the fourth and got no help from reliever Vince Wheeland, who allowed four more before being lifted for Raul Rivera.

“Basically, they beat up on our pitching. We just got beaten around,” said Tri-City manager Ed Romero. “We had too many pitches down the middle, and we got behind in the count too many times. Connecticut is a good hitting team. Today, our pitching wasn’t very good.”

Romero said the ValleyCats were already out of the game before Verlander’s grand slam.

“The nail was already in the coffin. When you are down,

9-2, it’s tough to come back,” he said.

“But this is the kind of game you put behind you. It’s a lot tougher when you lose, 3-2 or 1-0. This kind of game, you forget about.”

Derek Fisher, who made his New York-Penn League debut Monday by going 2-for-2 with three runs scored, was 1-for-2 with two walks and a run scored for the ValleyCats.


ab r h bi ab r h bi

Mattlage ss 4 2 1 1 Boyd cf 2 0 0 0

Kivett cf 6 2 3 2 Solano rf 2 0 0 0

Coffman lf 0 0 0 0 Bottger rf-cf 4 1 1 0

Gerber rf 6 1 2 1 Fisher lf 2 1 1 0

Pankake dh 4 3 1 1 Davis 3b 3 0 0 0

Verlander lf-cf 5 4 4 7 Hernandz 2b 1 0 0 0

Leyba 2b 5 1 1 2 Reed 1b 4 1 3 3

Fuentes 3b 5 1 1 0 Ferguson p 0 0 0 0

Navarro c 4 3 2 1 Tanilu 2b-3b 4 0 0 0

Kapstein 1b 5 1 3 3 Joyce dh-1b 4 0 0 0

Hyde ss 4 0 0 0

Gonzalez c 2 1 2 0

Gingras c 1 0 0 0

Totals 44 18 18 18 Totals 33 4 7 3

Connecticut 002 704 041—18

Tri-City 200 010 000—  4

DP—Tri-City 1. LOB—Connecticut 6, Tri-City 5. 2B—Navarro (5), Gerber (12), Kapstein 2 (3), Leyba (9), Pankake (3), Reed (6). HR—Verlander 2 (2), Reed (2). CS—Gonzalez (2).



Heddinger 2 3 2 2 1 0

Pritcher W,3-1 7 4 2 2 2 3


Ramirez L,1-3 3 1-3 6 6 6 2 1

Wheeland 1-3 3 4 4 2 1

Rivera 1 1-3 0 0 0 0 1

Kessay 2 4 4 4 1 2

Munnelly 1 4 4 4 2 1

Ferguson 1 1 1 1 0 1


Umpires—Home, Dave Albertson; Bases, Troy Carmont.

T—2:54. A—3,772.

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