TROY - The Tri-City ValleyCats (37-36) claimed a series victory over the Staten Island Yankees (41-31) Friday night, in front of 4,256 at "The Joe."
Right-hander Tyler Britton turned in a solid outing in a three inning start, matching a career-high seven strikeouts. Salvador Montaño (2-0) earned his second win as a ValleyCat, despite allowing two runs and four walks in two innings, and Kevin Hill tossed three innings of shutout relief. Making just his second outing for any level this season, Tyson Perez pitched a clean ninth. Perez's rehab assignment from Triple-A Fresno was transferred from the GCL Astros to Tri-City Friday morning.
The Yankees' Freicer Perez wasn't as sharp in his start, allowing three runs on three hits in two and two thirds, walking two. All three runs he surrendered resulted from Chuckie Robinson's at-bats, oddly enough. The first Yankee out of the bullpen, Raynal Espinal, took the loss (0-1) after allowing three runs in his two frames.
TALE OF THE TAPE: Robinson connected on his second home run of the season in the first inning, scoring Rodrigo Ayarza to give the 'Cats a 2-0 lead.
The Yankees answered back in the top of the second with a run of their own when Timmy Robinson scored on a Jerry Seitz groundout.
With two outs in the bottom of the third, the 'Cats would strike again off the bat of Robinson. Benedetti walked and scored on Robinson's double, his third RBI of the game.
Tri-City added on one more in the fourth on Jones' solo homer, and two in the fifth on wild pitches by Espinal and Brian Trieglaff.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED: Britton loaded the bases in the third on two singles and a walk, which brought up Dalton Blaser, who doubled in his first at-bat. Britton got him to pop out in foul territory, then struck out Seitz to end the inning, leaving the bases loaded and relinquishing the scoring threat.
The fourth frame proved to be pivotal as well, when Taylor Jones launched his team-leading eighth home run of the season to break a 3-3 tie. The solo shot traveled 370 feet to left field, and was Jones' second go-ahead hit in as many nights.
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS: Ayarza's triple in the fifth inning was his team-leading third of the season, and he has triples in back-to-back games, the first ValleyCat with the feat this season. Ayarza is hitting at a .317 clip over his last ten games, with 13 hits, six runs scored and three RBI.
PLAYOFF CHASE: With Friday's win, the 'Cats kept the New York-Penn League wild card race in question. Connecticut dropped a doubleheader to Lowell, and trail the Yankees by two and a half games with three left on the schedule.
NEXT UP: The 'Cats host the Yankees in their home finale tomorrow, September 3, at Joseph L. Bruno Stadium. Chad Martin (3-0, 2.60 ERA) takes the hill for the Yankees, opposite Carlos Sanabria (1-0, 1.13 ERA). Tri-City then heads on a two-game road trip to wrap up the 2016 season against the Connecticut Tigers on Sunday and Monday.