The Staten Island Yankees had lost their last four regular season games, including a three-game sweep at the hands of the Brooklyn Cyclones. Matt Tracy put an end to the skid by beating his team's top rival on a bigger stage.
Tracy tossed six brilliant innings and combined with Philip Wetherell and Branden Pinder on a two-hitter as short-season Staten Island took the first game of the best-of-3 series against Brooklyn, 2-0, in the New York-Penn League semifinals.
"They gave us a lot of trouble during the season," said the southpaw, who struck out four and walked one. "They're a real good team. It was a good atmosphere and fun to be out there tonight.
"My change-up was pretty good," added Tracy, who retired the first 10 Brooklyn hitters. "It helped me keep them off balance and get a lot of ground balls."
Making the biggest start of his young career, the Yankees' 24th-rounder used the same approach he always does. "Starters have routines, whether it's a big playoff game or a regular season game," he said. "Mine helps me get locked in."
Nick McCoy hit an RBI single in the top of the second to put Staten Island on top, and it wound up being all the run support Tracy would need.
"I don't look at it based on what our offense is doing," Tracy said. "No matter the score, you have to worry about executing pitches and getting people out."
Tyler Austin gave the Yankees a little more breathing room with an RBI single in the eighth.
Wetherell hit Javier Rodriguez and walked Brian Harrison, but kept the Cyclones off the board in the seventh. Pinder struck out four in two perfect innings to earn the save.
Brooklyn's Marcos Camarena took the loss after limiting Staten Island to one run on six hits in six innings of work. He struck out nine and did not walk a batter.
"Game 1 is especially huge since it's a three-game series," the 22-year-old University of Mississippi product said. "It gives us an opportunity to take care of business at home and win the series."
In other New York-Penn League playoff action:
Doubledays 3, Lake Monsters 2
Wilfri Pena's home run broke a tie game in the seventh as Auburn evened the series against Vermont at one game apiece. Taylor Hill went five innings of one-hit ball and struck out eight, but didn't factor into the decision. Box score