TROY, NY. - The Lowell Spinners' July 4th celebration was a bust Friday night as the Tri-City ValleyCats scored two in the sixth to take a lead they would not relinquish en route to a 7-4 win at Joseph L. Bruno Stadium.
Tri-City (13-8) got on the board in the bottom half of the first inning against Karsten Whitson, the Red Sox 11th round pick making his professional debut. After striking out Bobby Boyd to begin his career, Ryan Bottger walked and moved to second on a wild pitch. J.D. Davis followed with a single up the middle, scoring Bottger to give the Cats a 1-0 lead.
Lowell (11-10) evened the score in the top half of the third in similar fashion. Raymel Flores worked a one-out walk, stole second base and came around to score on an RBI single by Danny Mars.
The ValleyCats would answer in the bottom half of the inning against Willie Ethington (2-1, 4.66). It was Davis delivering again, this time with an RBI double, and an A.J. Reed groundout pushed across a second run to move Tri-City ahead, 3-1.
The Spinners would answer with a run in the top half of the fourth inning, taking advantage of a leadoff walk by Bryan Hudson. A wild pitch moved Hudson to second and he came around on a Sam Travis single. Lowell would pull even in the sixth, with the top of the order again providing the catalyst. Mars singled to leadoff the inning and advanced to second on a balk. After Hudson reached on an error by Davis, the Spinners ran into a pair of outs, with Hudson caught stealing second and Mars thrown out at home when he went on contact. With just Travis on first, Nick Longhi's double to center field plated just one, evening the score at three but leaving the Spinners with an opportunity lost.
This would prove crucial as the ValleyCats would rally for two in the sixth after Reed led off the inning with a double and Terrell Joyce took a 2-0 offering over the centerfield wall to give the ValleyCats a 5-3 lead.
Tri-City would add two runs in the seventh and the Spinners would push across a run in the eighth, this time on a Travis RBI single, but left two men on as the ValleyCats closed out the inning and then the game for a 7-4 final.
Mars (3-for-4, RBI) and Travis (2-for-4, 2 RBI) paced the Spinners offense, while Longhi extended his hitting streak to seven games with the RBI double.
Whitson would allow the one run in two innings, striking out one in his debut. Ethington was tagged with the loss, allowing four runs on six hits, striking out two. Chandler Shepherd allowed the first earned run of his career, allowing two runs, one earned, in 1.2 innings of relief before Edwar Garcia pitched a hitless eighth inning to give the Spinners a shot at the comeback.
The series continues Saturday in Tri-City with a 7pm first pitch. Heri Quevedo (1-2, 8.00) gets the start for the Spinners who look to even the series.