Monsters continue to slide this past week

LOWELL, MA After dropping three games to the Brooklyn Cyclones at home, the Vermont Lake Monsters traveled to Lowell last weekend to take on the division leading Spinners. As of the writing of this article they had loss the first three games of the four game series to fall to 19-25 on the year. As of Monday morning the Lake Monsters had dropped to third place in the Stedlar division, five games ahead of Lowell, and just one half game out of last. A Ronald Bermudez two-run homer in the third and a DeShaun Brooks three-run homer in the fourth inning gave Lowell a 6-1 lead and the Spinners went on to defeat the Vermont Lake Monsters 7-4 in New York-Penn League action Friday (August 1st) night at LeLecheur Park. Vermont had taken a 1-0 lead in the first on a solo home run from Derek Norris, his sixth homer of the season and the second in as many days for the Lake Monsters catcher. The Spinners tied the game in the second on a pair of one-out singles and pair of two-out walks, including a bases loaded walk, off Vermont starter Brad Peacock. Brooks reached on an error by Vermont third baseman Yeurys Tejeda to start the third and scored two outs later on Bermudezs second home run of the year. Peacock issued back-to-back one-out walks in the fourth inning before Brooks hit the three-run homer down the left field line for the 6-1 Lowell lead. The Spinners added another run in the seventh on a Rafael Gil RBI single for a six-run lead before the Lake Monsters were able to cut the deficit in half with three runs in the top of the eighth. After Vermont loaded the bases with a one-out Ricky Nolan double and two walks, Norris plated one run with an RBI single to center and Michael Guerrero followed with a two-run single to left to cut Lowells lead to 7-4. Spinner starter Bryan Price allowed one run on two hits with one walk and five strikeouts over the first four innings, while Yeiper Castillo (2-2) picked up the win despite allowing the three eighth-inning runs in his four innings of work. Peacock (3-3) gave up six runs (four earned) on six hits with four walks and four strikeouts in 3 1/3 innings for the loss. Brooks and Bermudez both went 2-for-4 along with their home runs for Lowell (22-20), which has won three straight and eight of its last 10 games to move into first-place in the Stedler Division. Norris went 2-for-3 to extend his current hitting streak to seven games, going 10-for-22 during the streak to raise his average to .320 on the season. Reliever Casey Whitmer, pitching for the first time since July 25th, struckout four in his 1 2/3 innings of work. The Lowell Spinners got a pair of two-run doubles in a 5-run fifth inning for a 5-0 lead and went on to hold off the Vermont Lake Monsters 6-4 in New York-Penn League action Saturday (August 2nd) night at LeLechuer Park. The game was scoreless until the bottom of the 5th when the Spinners scored five runs off Vermont reliever Jose Pinales. The first run scored without benefit of a hit as Pinales started the inning with a walk to Will Middlebrooks, who stole second, moved to third on a wild pitch and scored on a Ryan Dent sacrifice fly. Pinales walked the next two batters and Mitch Denning followed with a two-run double to right center for a 3-0 Lowell lead. After Pinales walked his fourth batter of the inning, Kade Keowen smashed a two-run double to left center to cap off the five-run inning. Vermont had just two hits over the first six innings, but rallied for four runs in the top of the seventh. The four-run inning was the first time that the Lake Monsters have scored more than three runs in an inning since scoring five runs in the bottom of the ninth in a 10-9 loss to Batavia on July 6th. Derek Norris, who had his seven-game hitting streak snapped with an 0-for-2 night, was hit by a pitch to reliever Stephen Fife to start the seventh. Tyler Moore snapped an 0-for-23 slump with a line drive single to advance Norris to second and Norris then scored when Blake Stouffer bounced back to the mound and Fifes throw to second went off the glove of shortstop Dent into centerfield. Vermont would then score two runs on RBI groundouts from Michael Guerrero and Chris Solis, while Dani Arias cut the deficit to 5-4 with an RBI single to center field. The Lake Monsters had a chance for a five-run inning as Jake Dugger hit a pitch to deep left center, but center fielder Ronald Bermudez was able to run the ball down for the final out of the inning. The Spinners added an insurance run as Middlebrooks led off the eighth with Lowells fifth double of the game and scored on a Matt Cooney RBI single for a 6-4 lead. Fife, who gave up the four runs (three earned) in the seventh, ended the game by striking out the side in the top of the ninth inning as the Lake Monsters struckout 14 times overall. Lowell starter Stolmy Pimental (3-2) allowed just two hits with eight strikeouts in five innings for the win, while Dening and Middlebrooks both had two doubles on the night. Lowell (23-20) has now won eight of its last 10 games, including five of six over the Lake Monsters in the last 10 games. Vermont starter Will Atwood allowed two hits with one walk and six strikeouts, but he could not come out for the fifth inning as it took over 70 pitches for him to get through four scoreless innings. Pinales (1-1) was charged with all five runs in the seventh for the loss, while Randy Matias one run on six hits with five strikeouts in 3 1/3 innings. Stephen Englund had two of the Lake Monsters five hits. Six of the Spinners nine hits went for extra bases and Drake Britton did not allow a hit over five innings as Lowell took its third straight game from the Vermont Lake Monsters with a 7-1 New York-Penn League victory on Sunday (August 3rd) afternoon at LeLecheur Park. Britton (1-2), who entered the game with a 5.02 ERA and 30 hits allowed in 28 2/3 innings, held the Lake Monsters hitless in his five innings of work. He retired the first eight batters, four by strikeout, before giving up a two-out walk to Ricky Nolan in the third. It was the only base runner against Britton as he then retired the final seven batters he faced. The game was scoreless until the bottom of the third when the Spinners scored two runs on three extra-base hits off Vermont starter Pat McCoy (1-3). Rafael Gil led the inning with a double down the left field line and scored one out later on a Jonathan Hee double to center field. After a strikeout for the second out, Mitch Dening tripled home Hee for a 2-0 Spinners lead. McCoy was able to retire the first two batters in the fourth inning, but Lowell then broke the game open as Will Middlebrooks doubled, Gil walked and Ryan Dent smashed his sixth home run of the season over the left field fence for a 5-0 Lowell advantage. The Spinners got their final two runs in the eighth on a two-run triple from Darren Blocker off Vermont reliever David Slovak. The Lake Monsters had just one hit over the first eighth innings, a James Keithley leadoff double in the sixth, before spoiling the shutout bid with a run on two hits in the ninth. Nick Arata led off the ninth with an infield single off reliever Jorge Rodriguez and moved to second on a walk to Dani Arias. After Derek Norris reached on a force out of Arata at third, Tyler Moore stroked an RBI single to right to score Arias with Vermonts only run of the game. A two-out walk loaded the bases, but Stephen Englund struckout swinging to end the game. McCoy (1-3) was charged with five runs on five hits with two walks and two strikeouts in five innings as the Lake Monsters lost their sixth straight game. Vermont was 18-14 after a 6-1 win at Brooklyn on July 22nd, but the Lake Monsters have now lost 11 of its last 12 games to fall to 19-25 on the year. Dening and Blocker both went 2-for-4 for the Spinners, while reliever Charlie Rosario gave up one hit in three scoreless innings. Lowell (24-20) has now won 10 of its last 12 games, including six of seven over the Lake Monsters.

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