Cyclones' Ynoa leads pitching clinic

Brooklyn staff combines for four-hit, 15-inning shutout in win

By Jonathan Raymond / Special to | July 19, 2012 10:05 PM ET

When Gabriel Ynoa finished off the sixth inning with Class A Short-Season Brooklyn still locked into a scoreless tie with Staten Island on Thursday, he probably figured there was wa good chance he wouldn't factor into the decision.

What he probably didn't anticipate was that the decision wouldn't be reached for another full nine innings.

The Cyclones finally scored on Richie Rodriguez's sacrifice fly in the top of the 15th and closed out the game in the bottom of the frame with a 4-6-2 double play to beat the Yankees, 1-0.

Ynoa started the marathon for Brooklyn, tossing six one-hit innings with three strikeouts and two walks. Six relievers followed, scattering three more hits and three walks while striking out 13 over nine innings.

"I think you've got to give credit to both staffs, there weren't too many hard-hit balls the whole night," said Brooklyn manager Rich Donnelly. "There were some guys who had some bad swings. For [short-season] ball, it's outstanding."

The 19-year-old right-hander made his sixth start of the season, all of which have lasted six frames. In all but one, he has allowed two earned runs or fewer.

The Dominican Republic native was signed by the Mets as an international free agent in 2009, but didn't appear in American pro ball until last season, when he debuted with the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League Mets. In 12 appearances between the GCL and Rookie-level Kingsport, Ynoa went 2-3 with a 3.21 ERA, striking out 27 and walking just four over 56 innings.

This season has seen him take another step forward. After Thursday's outing, Ynoa (1-1) lowered his ERA to 2.75 in 36 innings for the Cyclones. Once again he's thrived on control, whiffing 27 while allowing just five free passes. In his two Minor League seasons, his walks-per-nine innings ratio stands at 0.88.

"He has the poise of a much older pitcher, you watch him sometimes and think, 'Wow, this guy's a veteran and he's only 19 years old,'" said Donnelly. "He doesn't throw 95 [mph], but he knows how to change speeds and spot his fastball. He's always strike one. Very rarely goes into counts where it's 2-1, 3-1.

"He'd be hell at a carnival, he'd come home with a whole bag full of stuffed animals."

The Brooklyn bullpen pitched the equivalent of a complete-game shutout after Ynoa departed. Beck Wheeler struck out two in one perfect inning. Timothy Peterson followed with two perfect frames, fanning five. John Mincone allowed one hit in the next two innings and then Paul Sewald scattered two over 2 2/3 frames. Ernesto Yanez recorded the final out of the 14th.

Closer Tyler Vanderheiden picked up his sixth save of the year when he worked the 15th. With two men on and one out, Staten Island's Jamiel Orozco hit a chopper to second base, and Rodriguez played it to shortstop Phillip Evans for the first out.

Jose Rosario rounded third and dashed for home as the would-be game-tying run, but was thrown out by Evans from second for the game-ending 4-6-2 double play.

"Just came down to that freak play," said Donnelly. "I was trying to think back during the game -- and I'm from close to Pittsburgh -- so all I could think of was the Harvey Haddix game (in which he threw 12 perfect innings and the Pirates lost in the 13th) and how neat that must have been to throw 12 innings without a hit.

"Our pitchers had only one hit in the 10th, got to the 12th with only two. It made it exciting to watch."

Right fielder Jonathan Clark led the Cyclones with three hits, including a double.

Jonathan Raymond is a contributor to This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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