Alonso powers Cyclones closer to first
Three-Run Blast Propels Brooklyn over Division-Leading Renegades
The year was 2005, and Tom Gamboa, then only in his third decade of Major League-affiliated baseball, was managing the Arkansas Travelers of the Double-A Texas League for the Los Angeles Angels.
That was the last time the Cyclones’ third-year skipper saw the type of pure power currently being exhibited by Brooklyn first baseman Peter Alonso.
“He has Mike Napoli out-of-the-stadium-type power,” Gamboa emphasized last week at Coney Island’s MCU Park, referring to the league-leading 31 long balls Napoli hit for the Travelers that season before making his way to the Majors, where he has since pounded 231 homers.
“He’s a potential impact bat for the Mets,” Gamboa added of the parent club’s second-round pick out of the University of Florida in this past June’s MLB Draft.
“In the big leagues, if you get down early, you need to have somebody that can hit a three-run homer to get your team back in the game. Certainly, Alonso provides that.”
The 6-foot-3, 225-pound slugger did so Wednesday night at first-place Hudson Valley, blasting a three-run shot to lift the Cyclones to a critical 3-0 victory over the Renegades in front of 4,298 fans at Dutchess Stadium.
Alonso, who has a team-high four of Brooklyn’s 19 homers this summer, came to the plate with one out and two on in the top of the fourth inning against Hudson Valley starter Eduard Rosillo (1-1).
He promptly deposited an offering from the right-hander over the wall in left-center field, providing Cyclones staff ace Harol Gonzalez with all the offense he’d need.
Alonso hadn’t gone deep since July 23 at Aberdeen as Brooklyn’s already anemic offense frittered away several brilliant pitching performances from one of the top starting staff’s in the New York-Penn League.
The 21-year-old Tampa native was quite familiar with the environs at Dutchess Stadium, having belted a mammoth homer at the Renegades’ home back on July 18 that Gamboa intimated was one of the longest ever hit at the park.
After managing just one run during a deflating three-game home series against Aberdeen earlier this week, the Cyclones were in dire need of Alonso’s blast, which drew them within 2 1/2 games of McNamara Division-leading Hudson Valley and Staten Island in the ongoing hunt for Brooklyn’s first playoff berth since 2012.
Gene Cone, Michael Paez and Jacob Zanon had the only other hits — all singles — for the Cyclones, who climbed above the .500 mark at 24-23 but continued to struggle to hit with men on base, going 1-for-8 with runners in scoring position.
Fortunately, Alonso’s one hit was more than enough to power them to victory.
Gonzalez continued his mastery of NY-Penn opponents after being staked to a rare early lead on the three-run shot, limiting the Renegades to four hits and a walk with four strikeouts over seven strong innings.
The 21-year-old Dominican right-hander improved to 4-1 with a 1.77 ERA in nine starts this summer, all but assuring himself a spot in the league’s annual All-Star Game.
Reliever Gary Cornish followed with two hitless frames to pick up the save, giving Brooklyn a chance to draw even closer to the division’s top spot Thursday night, when Merandy Gonzalez (3-2, 3.80 ERA) was slated to start for the Baby Bums in Hudson Valley.
The Cyclones also flashed some leather in Wednesday’s big win, getting diving catches from Zanon in center field and Jay Jabs in left, preventing the Renegades from putting a dent in the scoreboard.
The shutout win was Brooklyn’s fourth of the campaign, helping to offset the five times the light-hitting ’Clones have been blanked themselves this summer, including twice against the IronBirds here in Coney Island this past week.
Brooklyn will return home on Tuesday to open up a six-game homestand against the Vermont Lake Monsters.
This, That and the Other Thing: Though his ERA is significantly higher than Harol Gonzalez’s, right-hander Erik Manoah is fast-emerging as one of the Mets’ better prospects at the Class A short-season level. After a rough start, Manoah has reeled off wins in each of his last four starts, including a seven-inning scoreless gem against Aberdeen here on Monday. The 20-year-old hurler has yielded one earned run or fewer in each of those last four outings … Mets shortstop prospect Colby Woodmansee, the team’s fifth-round pick out of Arizona State in June, has been rock solid all summer for Brooklyn. The 21-year-old Phoenix native is batting .285 overall this year, while boasting a .314 mark in his last 10 games. He went 0-for-3 with a walk and a run scored against the Renegades on Wednesday night … Next Thursday, Aug. 11, the Cyclones will hand out 1986 Mets Jesse Orosco jerseys to the first 2,500 fans who show up at MCU Park as Brooklyn continues to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the parent club’s last World Series title.
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