The Hudson Valley Renegades, Class A Short Season affiliate of the Tampa Bay Rays, defeated the Vermont Lake Monsters by the score of 6-5 on Monday night. A game that nearly ended on multiple occasions, and with different outcomes, ultimately settled with the most home-crowd-pleasing final.
It was a memorable game for the Renegades who were in complete control for eight innings before seeing their lead diminish with two outs in the ninth. The home team set the tone early when Vidal Brujan and Carl Chester hit back-to-back singles to start the bottom half of the first. Both runners would come across to score and represented the only runs the Renegades would score until the ninth.
Those two runs seemed to be enough for starting pitcher Mikey York though, who cruised through another impressive outing. He kept the Lake Monsters scoreless through five, allowing just one runner to reach second base. The Renegades’ bullpen clung to their 2-1 lead heading into the ninth inning until Vermont exploded for four runs on four hits.
Now looking at their first deficit all day, the Renegades quickly found themselves down three runs and down to their final out. They weren’t done there though, as Taylor Walls worked a two-out walk and set Brendan McKay up for a huge, game-tying, three-run homer with the count full.
With the game knotted at five in the tenth, Garrett Fulenchek was able to make quick work of the Lake Monsters and give his team a chance to win it in the bottom half. The first two batters were retired but a two-out single by Bill Bujols and a walk of Brujan loaded the bases and set Carl Chester up for the walk-off infield single.
York’s performance came as no surprise, as he’s been absolutely dominant on the mound this season. He pitched five scoreless innings, allowed just two hits, a walk, and struck out four in the no decision. He also benefited from solid defense by the rest of the Renegades, particularly Oscar Rojas in right field who bailed him out of trouble with a spectacular play in the fourth.
“Having the guys behind me makes pitching a lot easier because I know I can just focus on filling the zone up and let them work for me,” York said.
York also attributed his success to his catcher, Zac Law, who has started behind the plate for the majority of York’s starts this year. “We’ve developed a really good bond,” York said. “He’s starting to learn what I like to do in certain situations.” Law helped his teammate out with a sac-fly back in the first.
The 2016 fifth-round pick extended his scoreless innings streak to an incredible 30 innings, dating back to July 5. In fact, he’s given up just four runs across 44 innings all season. In eight starts this season he’s posted a 0.82 ERA and 0.82 WHIP, both the best among New York-Penn League pitching. His performance has earned the attention of the league as well as the rest of Minor League Baseball. While the New York-Penn League All-Star rosters have not yet been announced, York is about as sure a bet to make the team as it gets.
His performance has earned the attention of the league as well as the rest of Minor League Baseball. While the New York-Penn League All-Star rosters have not yet been announced, York is about as sure a bet to make the team as it gets. The game is being held in Tri-City this year on August 15.
Offensively, it was MLB.com’s No. 23 overall prospect Brendan McKay who delivered the big hit. His three-run homer in the bottom of the ninth was his third of the season and brings his RBI total to ten in 17 games. McKay’s heroics are just a part of what makes the No. 4 overall pick in this year’s Draft so special. He also threw three shutout innings and struck out three the night before.
It was a huge win for the Renegades who improve to 23-24 on the season. They currently are still 4.5 games out of a Wild Card spot but have been playing much better baseball of late. The Lake Monsters fall to 25-22 but still hold a 1.5 game lead in the Stedler division.