Thunder show fight but fall to Binghamton (with audio from Tony Franklin and Rob Lyerly)
Even though it had a little twist at the end, the Thunder followed virtually the same script they have for the last five weeks: Lose, and do so in particularly frustrating fashion.
This time it was a 6-5 defeat against Binghamton, one in which it looked for a moment like the tide was finally beginning to turn.
Down 6-1 opening the eighth, Jose Pirela blooped a single into a shallow left field. Corban Joseph followed with a single through the right side, and Rob Lyerly capped the rally with a long three-run homer into the blackness beyond the wall in right-center field.
With the pendulum appearing to swing back in their favor, the Thunder kept chipping.
Damon Sublett started the ninth with a triple off the top of the wall in center, which Jose Gil followed with a walk against Binghamton closer Josh Stinson.
Things then turned quickly back toward the visitors’ dugout.
With his team down two and threatening, Gil committed one of baseball’s biggest no-no’s when he got picked off of first base on Stinson’s fake-to-third-throw-to-first move.
Sublett scored on a wild pitch, but the next two men, Addison Maruszak and Austin Krum went down in order to close the game and the send Trenton back to the clubhouse with its six loss out of seven tries in August.
“I’ve got a recording,” manager Tony Franklin said afterward, “and it’s not good. It’s starting to wear on me. I think we’re a better team than that, but we keep seeing the same movie over and over every night, and I’m tired of watching it.”
In spite of the loss, the Thunder, who are just 11-25 since the start of July, find themselves just one game behind Reading for the Eastern Division wild card and just five games back of division leader New Hampshire, against whom they still have six head-to-head matchups.
With that knowledge, Lyerly says, the team can take a hint of solace in knowing its mess of a second half hasn’t amounted to a knockout blow.
“We’re right there,” he said. “It’s only a matter of time before we roll through and make a push and start climbing the ladder.”
Things started poorly last night when, with two outs and a runner on second, starter Graham Stoneburner lost the strike zone. He issued two consecutive free passes before third baseman Mike Fisher cleaned the bags with a double.
And although Fisher was wiped out in a rundown between second and third base, his hit put the Thunder in a three-run hole which, lately, has been an overwhelming deficit.
Over its last 11 games, last night marked just the third time Trenton had scored more than three runs.
Stoneburner settled down after the first inning, dodging in and out of trouble through the next four frames to keep Binghamton off the board. Problem was, Trenton wasn’t putting up much of a fight either.
Their first run scored on a Krum groundout in the fifth, and they collected just three hits and a walk in five frames against starter Collin McHugh.
Binghamton added to its lead in the sixth and seventh innings, using a two-run home run from Raul Reyes and a seventh-inning double from Fisher that plated Havens and chased Stoneburner.