Quick Game Recaps: Bridgeport at Newark
Saturday: Bridgeport 12, Newark 7 (Game 1)
I went out to the park early on Saturday to meet my friends and try to get a few autographs. Armando Benitez, Tim Raines, Ron Karkovice, Willie Banks, Jacque Jones, Tommy John and Willie Upshaw all signed baseball cards for me, so it was a pretty successful day in that respect.
My friend Greg was helping me to keep track of an eBay auction for a game-used Carl Everett bat that was ending that afternoon. I was happy to win the bat for $26 (plus $12.50 shipping), but he got more into watching the final minutes of the auction than I was. It was kind of funny. 🙂
The game didn’t go so well… in fact, it was a bit of a disaster for Newark. Shane Komine gave up seven runs in the top of the first inning, capped by a three-run homer by Bridgeport’s Adam Greenberg. The Bears tried to battle back, with a two-run homer by Carl Everett in the bottom of the inning.
Unfortunately, Komine wasn’t finished giving up runs — he gave up four more before getting pulled in the top of the fourth. Newly signed pitcher Kevin Mannix made his Bears’ debut and kept the Bluefish from scoring again until the top of the seventh.
The Bears still tried to battle back, with four more runs in the fifth inning on home runs by Jacque Jones and Andres Perez. But the deficit was too steep. Bridgeport won, 12-7, cutting the Somerset Patriots’ magic number to 7.
Newark 9, Bridgeport 1 (Game 2)
Game two turned out to be another lopsided affair, but it wasn’t the offense that had our attention at the start. It was Newark’s starting pitcher. Keith Foulke, who last started regularly as a rookie for the San Francisco Giants in 1997, took the hill.
At first, we figured it would be a bullpen night. Foulke pitched a perfect first and came out again for the second. He allowed a solo home run to Bridgeport’s Jesse Hoorelbeke, but retired the other batters. He came out again for the third, and got through the inning allowing just one single. He came back out in the fourth and fifth to pitch two more perfect innings. Finally, in the sixth, Tim Raines sent out Corey Willey to relieve Foulke. By then, it didn’t really matter who went to the mound as long as they threw strikes.
The Bears scored a manufactured run in the first inning, then added three more on homers by Michael Hernandez and Tike Redman in the second. Andres Perez would hit two more shots and newly-signed third baseman Sandy Madera hit a home run in his first start for Newark. When Foulke left the game, he has a 9-1 lead. Willey hit the first batter he faced, but retired the next six in a row to close out the win.
Unfortunately, Somerset also won to cut their magic number to 6.
Sunday: Bridgeport 12, Newark 5
On Legends Sunday, the Bears didn’t exactly look legendary. Before the game, former Negro League players Robert Scott and Pedro Sierra signed autographs and were honored in a pre-game ceremony.
Matt Melody, signed earlier this week, made his professional debut for the Bears. He allowed one run in the top of the first and three more in the fourth on a home run by Bridgeport shortstop Ryner Bautista. But at least he kept the ball around the plate.
The same could not be said about Ryan Bukvich. After pitching a perfect fifth inning, Bukvich started the sixth by walking the first two batters he faced — and he wasn’t even close to the strike zone. Bukvich faced six batters in the inning; he walked four, got one ground out and gave up a hit. He was pulled after walking in a run.
Danny Santiesteban came on and gave up three consecutive hits before recording an out. By that point, the game was out of hand. By the time the Bears finally got the third out, the Bluefish had scored seven runs in the inning. Backup catcher Alberto Castillo took the mound to pitch the ninth; he retired all three batters he faced throwing a mix of fastballs and knuckleballs.
The Bears had briefly tied the game in the third and actually had a 5-4 lead after five, but the pitching wasn’t good enough to hold it. The Somerset Patriots magic number fell to 5 with Newark’s loss.