TROY - After scoring just five runs in their last five games, the Tri-City ValleyCats tallied five runs in the first inning of Saturday night's contest, and didn't look back in a 9-1 drubbing of the Lowell Spinners at Joseph L. Bruno Stadium.
With two runners aboard and a 1-0 lead early in the first, Michael Papierski launched his fourth home run of the year to left field to give the 'Cats a 4-0 lead. Not to be out-done, Jake Adams followed with a solo shot of his own, his New York-Penn League-leading 9th of the season.
The 'Cats (31-32) wouldn't score again until the 7th inning, when a Kyle Davis RBI single scored Jake Meyers from third. Bryan De La Cruz singled and Adrian Tovalin walked to load the bases, before Papierski drove them all in with a triple to dead centerfield, over the head of Yoan Aybar, who initially charged in on the fly ball. The three-run knock were Papierski's fourth, fifth, and sixth RBI of the night, and gave the 'Cats the eventual 9-1 victory.
Juan Robles and Adam Bleday were nearly flawless for Tri-City. Robles allowed the only Lowell run of the game in the second inning on a Nick Hamilton RBI single. He allowed just three hits, and struck out seven over his four and a third innings.
Bleday (W, 1-0) picked up his first victory as a ValleyCat, and did not allow a hit in the final four and two thirds innings. He tied a career-high eight punchouts, and walked just one batter.
For Lowell (29-33), Angel Padron suffered the loss (0-1), surrendering all five runs in the first inning. Mitchell Osnowitz came on to pitch the next four innings and held the 'Cats to just one hit before Rio Gomez gave up the four runs in the seventh to put the game out of reach.
PLAYOFF PICTURE: With the win, the 'Cats gained a game on the Stedler Division leader, the Vermont Lake Monsters, and now sit 4.5 games out with 12 games to play. Vermont lost Saturday, a 2-1 defeat at the hands of the Aberdeen IronBirds. Tri-City also gained a game in the Wild Card race, thanks to a Hudson Valley Renegades loss, and are five games out of that race.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED: With one out in the third inning, Zach Sterry walked, and was caught off of first when Papierski threw behind him. He was eventually tagged out on a 2-3-4-1-6 putout, as Jonathan Arauz tagged him out between first and second base.
With two outs in the fourth, Alexander Martinez singled, and Steven Reveles followed with a line drive to right field that appeared to be headed for extra bases. De La Cruz, however, came out of nowhere and made the catch, sprinting across the foul line.
After Bleday took over for Robles in the fifth, he struck out five consecutive Spinners, the longest streak of consecutive K's by a ValleyCat this season.
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS: Papierski and Adams' home runs mark the first time since August 6, 2014 that the Spinners have surrendered back-to back dingers, when they gave up two to the State College Spikes.
UP NEXT: The ValleyCats host Lowell in the rubber match of this three game series tomorrow night, Sunday, August 27, at 5:00 p.m. 'Cats righty Corbin Martin (0-0, 1.69 ERA) will seek his first professional win against the Spinners' Nick Duron (2-4, 3.89 ERA).
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.