There was a brief moment when it looked like the York Revolution was on its way to earning a much-needed series split against the first-place Lancaster Barnstormers.
Then, in the span of two innings, it all went south.
After Eric Patterson launched his second solo home run of the game in the bottom of the eighth to give York (17-15) a 3-2 lead, Lancaster (21-11) scored a run in each of the top of the ninth and 10th innings to steal a 4-3 victory at Santander Stadium on Wednesday night. York fell four games behind Lancaster in the Atlantic League Freedom Division.
Brian Cavazos-Galvez tied the game in the top of the ninth with an RBI double off Josh Judy and then Anderson Feliz hit a solo home run in the 10th, proving to be the winning run. Feliz's home run came off of Luis Perdomo, giving him his first loss of the season.
"We had a chance to win the game," Revs' manager Mark Mason said. "We needed three outs and that's just the way it goes."
Lancaster got the offense started thanks to a Mike McDade solo home run to lead off the top of the second inning. It was his fourth of the season. But, the Barnstormers' lead was short-lived. Patterson matched McDade's solo home run with one of his own in the bottom of the third to tie the game at 1-1.
Lancaster regained its one-run advantage in the top of the fifth on a wild pitch by Revs' starter Ty'Relle Harris. Much like the first time the Barnstormers took the lead, it didn't take long for York to respond. Andres Perez tied the game at 2-2 in the bottom of the sixth with a two-out single, scoring Wilson Valdez from third.
For the next inning and a half, both bullpens held the offenses in check, until the sky opened up and sent the game into a rain delay with two outs in the top of the eighth.
For Harris, his spot start came in possibly his last outing for the Revs this season. He's set to return to school to finish his degree this fall. He wound up throwing 4 2/3 innings, allowing two runs, both earned, on three hits, three walks and two strikeouts. His performance went above the expectations that Mason had for him. Going into the game, he was expected to throw 50 pitches, but got all the way up to 70 pitches, 43 of which were strikes.
"He was outstanding," Mason said. "He gave me more than I thought. ... It was really one swing for a homer and a passed ball or wild pitch. That was really it."
Edward Paredes relieved Harris in the fifth and pitched 1 1/3 innings of perfect baseball, striking out two of the four hitters he faced. Ron Schreurs continued his dominance as the seventh-inning man, pitching a scoreless frame, while striking out one. In the eighth, Stephen Penney retired the first two hitters he faced before the game went into a 1 hour, 13 minute rain delay. The inability to get through the eighth with Penney on the mound provided a challenge for Mason, who already had a depleted bullpen and not a lot of options remaining.
"Then I went to Josh because, really, all that was left in the bullpen at that time was Josh was there," Mason said. "He hadn't thrown in three days, so he was the most rested of the group. There was Beau (Vaughan), (Tony) Pena and there was Perdomo."
For Lancaster, starter Madison Boer tossed five strong innings, allowing one earned run on four hits, one walk and three strikeouts. He left in line for the win, but reliever Blake Hassebrock couldn't make it hold up, giving up the tying run, while only recording two outs in the sixth.
Offensively for York, aside from Patterson's two-homer night, Perez and Valdez each had multi-hit games. Perez had a team-high three hits, while Valdez chipped in with two.
The Barnstormers improved to 14-11 in the War of the Roses and clinched at least a share of the Community Cup with only three games remaining between the two foes.
Overall, the Revs went 5-3 on their eight-game homestand and will now embark on an eight-game road trip starting with the Bridgeport Bluefish. With 15 of its next 18 games on the road and only one off day remaining in the season, York will need to come up with a big road trip to keep its playoff dreams alive.
"I would take 6-2 or 5-3 on the road," Mason said. "I mean, 4-4 on the road is good, but right now, where we are, we need to be a little better than .500 on this road trip."
— Reach Patrick Strohecker at email@example.com; follow on Twitter @P_Strohecker