As the first half of the Atlantic League season enters the final few weeks, each game begins to hold more importance.
Especially when you're in a position such as the one the York Revolution is in. The Revs hold one of the coveted first-place spots, leading the Freedom Division. Each first-half division champion earns a playoff berth.
Entering Tuesday night's game against the Somerset Patriots, York faced, arguably, its most important series of the season. Not only were the Revs taking on the top team in the Liberty Division in Somerset, but back in Lancaster, the Barnstormers and Sugar Land Skeeters were squaring off. Those two teams entered tied with each other, directly behind York, in the Freedom Division race.
So, Tuesday's game was huge for the Revs.
Despite a good offensive showing, however, York's pitching let the team down in a 10-8 loss to the Patriots at TD Bank Ballpark.
Every time York (29-22) managed to plate a runner or two in an inning, the pitching staff struggled to respond with a shut-down inning. Alfredo Marte got things started in the right direction for the Revs, belting a solo homer in the top of the second to open up a 1-0 lead. However, York starter Kelvin De La Cruz ran into trouble in the bottom of the third, allowing four runs, although only one was earned, to allow Somerset (29-22) take a 4-1 lead.
The Patriots added a run in the bottom of the fourth, but the Revs responded with two runs in the top of the fifth to close the gap to 5-3. Again, however, De La Cruz couldn't respond with a zero, allowing another run, putting Somerset back ahead 6-3.
The Revs again looked like they were going to claw their way back into the game, scoring a run in the top of the seventh on a Bryan Pounds single to make it 6-4. However, by the time the seventh came to an end, York found itself down 10-4, thanks to a four-run bottom of the frame for the Patriots against Revs' reliever Scott Rice.
That inning was enough to give Somerset the victory, despite York tacking on two more runs in each of the last two innings to make the final score closer.
De La Cruz failed to get out of the fifth, allowing six runs, three earned, in 4 1/3 innings, surrendering eight hits, four walks and striking out four.
Offensively, Pounds was the only Rev to drive in more than one run, finishing with two RBIs. Andres Perez had three hits to lead the team, while Joel Guzman, Pounds and Marte each had two hits.
Meanwhile, Sugar Land knocked off Lancaster, 3-2, moving to within two games of York's lead in the Freedom Division.
The Revs and Somerset continue their three-game series on Wednesday with first pitch scheduled for 7:05 p.m. at TD Bank Ballpark.