HARTFORD, July 26 – The Akron Rubber Ducks continue to frustrate the Hartford Yard Goats.
The Cleveland Indians’ Double A affiliate beat Hartford for the second straight night in front of a sellout crowd at Dunkin’ Donuts Park and beat the Yard Goats for the fifth time in five games this season.
On Thursday night, Hartford had 10 hits but still fell short in a four-run loss to Akron. On Friday, Akron rallied in the ninth inning for the win.
Nelson Rodriguez’s three-run double with two outs in the ninth inning lifted Akron to an 8-5 Eastern League victory over the Yard Goats before a capacity crowd of 6,850 in Hartford. The Yard Goats have lost six of their last seven games.
The Rubber Ducks staged their comeback against Hartford closer Scott Griggs, who suffered his first loss as a Yard Goat in 80 appearances.
With two outs and nobody on base in the ninth inning, Griggs walked Ernie Clement with Hartford leading 5-4. Akron’s Nolan Jones followed with a single and Trenton Brooks knocked in the tying run with a double into the right-field corner. After Akron’s Connor Marabell was intentionally walked, Rodriguez cleared the bases with a double into the left-field corner.
The Yard Goats jumped out to a 4-0 lead, helped by a three-run fourth inning. A sacrifice fly by Nelson Molina, Chris Rabago’s RBI-single and a run-scoring double by Manny Melendez highlighted the frame.
Meanwhile, Hartford starter Brandon Gold was coasting along with two outs in the sixth, when the RubberDucks began to quack. Brooks roped a double into the right-field corner and Marabell followed with a two-run, opposite field homer to left, cutting the lead to 4-2.
Gold was money in the bank for the Yard Goats. The right-hander pitched six innings, allowing two runs on five hits, striking out six with no walks.
Hartford (15-20) tacked on an unearned run in the sixth, on Molina’s single, a throwing error by reliever Jared Robinson, a wild pitch and Vance Vizcaino’s sacrifice fly.
Hartford reliever Justin Lawrence started the seventh and loaded the bases on a walk and two hits, before Clement doubled into the right-field corner with one out, knocking in two runs to cut the lead to 5-4. Rayan Gonzalez entered and retired the next two batters to pitch out of the jam, before Akron’s ninth inning heroics.
Molina had a double, single, RBI and run scored to lead Hartford. Marabell had a homer, single and two RBI, Clement a double, single and two-RBI and Rodriguez a three-run double to highlight Akron’s attack.
Robinson hurled three scoreless innings to nail down his first win for Akron, while Dalbert Siri pitched the ninth for his fourth save.
On Thursday night, Mylz Jones had a double, two singles and an RBI to pace the Yard Goats 10-hit attack on in a 6-2 loss to Akron. Teammate Nelson Molina added two doubles and had a run scored, while Manny Melendez had a double, single an RBI.
Game three of the four-game series is Saturday at 6:05 p.m.