Simply put, it was an inning the York Revolution couldn't afford to have.
Already with a tall task ahead of it in trying to make the playoffs, York now finds itself on the brink of missing the Atlantic League postseason for the first time since 2012.
The Long Island Ducks scored three times in the top of the ninth, breaking a 2-2 deadlock and pulling away for a 5-2 victory in front of 2,601 fans at Santander Stadium on Tuesday night.
Stephen Penney endured the loss, allowing the three runs to cross on four hits in the frame. The half inning that could prove costly to the Revs' season began with a single by Elmer Reyes. Then, with one out, Anthony Vega drove him in to put Long Island (34-30) up 3-2. After a wild pitch brought a second run across, Lew Ford put the game to bed with an RBI single that pushed the Ducks' lead to 5-2 and made a York comeback bid all but impossible.
The Revs (37-27) went quietly in the bottom half of the frame, with Long Island closer Amalio Diaz striking out the side. The loss, coupled with the Lancaster Barnstormers' 9-5 win over the Southern Maryland Blue Crabs, puts York 4 1/2 games back in the Freedom Division with only five games to play.
The Revs showed their resiliency in the game, battling back from an early 2-0 hole. After the Ducks scored single runs in the top of the second and third innings, York leveled the score with two runs in the bottom of the fifth. Andres Perez doubled home Wilson Valdez and Salvador Paniagua, tying the game at 2-2.
Revs starter Matt Neil did his part in keeping York in the game. He went seven innings, allowing two runs, both unearned, on five hits, a walk and four strikeouts. Luis Perdomo and Edward Paredes combined to work a scoreless eighth before Penney got saddled for his sixth loss of the season. His record slipped to 4-6.
Long Island starter Bruce Kern only lasted 4 2/3 innings, allowing two runs, both earned, on four hits, with three walks and seven strikeouts. After two relievers got the Ducks into the eighth, Ryan Kussmaul wound up earning the victory, pitching a scoreless eighth. He improved to 5-2, while Diaz picked up his 14th save.
The rubber game of the three-game series between the two teams is set for 6:30 p.m. Wednesday at Santander Stadium.