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For the Queens Kings, there would be no come-from-behind win at The Ballpark at St. John's University Monday night. Instead the borough's first minor league baseball team took care of business from the start, scoring three runs in the second inning en route to a 6-3 victory over the Pittsfield Mets in front of 1,037.
The victory, combined with wins by both Lowell and Vermont, made an already cloudy playoff picture even more convoluted. Only 1.5 games separate Staten Island, Queens, Lowell and Vermont in the New York-Penn League's McNamara Division with just eight games left in the regular season with the top two teams making the playoffs.
Much like last Monday night, when he hit a two-run home run in the bottom of the 13th to beat the New Jersey Cardinals, Queens catcher Guillermo Quiroz was the offensive hero for the Kings against the Mets, going 2-for-3 with two doubles, one of which cleared the bases in the third inning, and two runs scored.
Quiroz's second-inning double to left centerfield on a ball misjudged by Pittsfield left fielder Josh Perich put Queens (40-27) ahead 3-0 and the Kings added a run in the fifth inning on Raul Tablado's RBI-single up the middle and another in the sixth when Quiroz scored on an error to Pittsfield right fielder Cory Harris.
"I just tried to score one and I got three," he said. "I just tried to hit the ball good, a fly ball or a sacrifice or something like that and the outfielder helped me. He didn't see the ball and he was kind of dancing there trying to catch the ball."
The Kings' lead held up thanks to the pitching of Mike Smith and Brandon Lyon, who combined to throw five innings of two-hit ball with eight strikeouts. Lyon earned the win, improving his record to 5-3.
"Smitty was throwing a very good fastball, good movement," Quiroz said. "And Lyon had a good slider, it was working very good."
After Pittsfield (35-32) finally got on the board in the top of the seventh inning when Jeremy Todd's single to left field scored Ron Acuna, Mike Snyder put Queens up 6-1 on a solo shot to left field to lead off the bottom of the seventh inning. It was the first baseman's third home run of the year.
But the Mets would not die as John Wilson's double down the left field line with one out in the top of the eighth inning off Kings reliever Derrick Nunley scored Harris and Acuna to cut its deficit to 6-3.
After three days of inactivity and a rare day off ahead of him, closer George Perez was brought into the game by Kings interim manager Geovany Miranda to avoid rust down the stretch.
The hard-throwing Perez broke Todd's bat on a weak fly out to short and struck out Perich on a split-finger fastball to end the inning. The native of San Pedro de Macoris, Dominican Republic finished the Mets off in the ninth inning to earn his 11th save of the year.
"I just tried to come inside after looking for the outside corner because they have been hitting the inside pitches pretty well the whole series, so we just tried to work them outside and then come inside after they tried to make adjustments," Perez said.
©2000 Community Newspaper Group
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