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Brandon Moore’s first year of professional baseball didn’t go nearly as planned. He was used as a spot starter and middle reliever. Then he injured his back.
So when he made it through extended spring training in Port St. Lucie, Fla. healthy and was told his role was to be in the rotation with the Brooklyn Cyclones, he smiled.
“It definitely feels better to be a starter,” said the Mets’ 14th-round selection in last year’s draft said. “That’s what I’ve been my whole life.”
He certainly looked comfortable Tuesday evening. Moore scattered four hits – all singles – across seven crisp shutout innings, leading the Cyclones to a 7-3 win over the Hudson Valley Renegades at KeySpan Park in Coney Island. He struck out four and didn’t walk a batter.
“The best pitch in baseball he threw tonight – strike No. 1,” Cyclones manager Pedro Lopez said. “Whenever a pitcher does that, he’s going to be successful. Brandon did that tonight.”
Glenn Gibson didn’t for Hudson Valley.
He walked five in two-plus innings of work, allowing three earned runs on just two hits. Brooklyn scored three more off Jordi Amargos, all in the fifth, the big hit leftfielder Alex Gregory’s two-run double to center.
“We don’t have as much pressure now that we’ve started off good,” Moore said after Brooklyn improved to 3-1 heading into a five-game road trip that included trips to Hudson Valley and Aberdeen (Md.).
Six different Cyclones had hits, seven scored a run and six had at least one RBI. Ralph Henriquez drove in the first run with a bases-loaded walk and Luis Rivera scored the second on a broken-bat bloop single. Matt Bouchard added a sacrifice fly in the second.
“There are different guys stepping up every night,” Lopez said.
It would be all the support Moore needed. He retired the side in order three times, sending down the final 10 Renegades he faced in the 68-pitch masterpiece. His one tough inning was the fourth; Burt Reynolds led off with a single and one batter later, Eli Sonoqui also singled. But Reynolds was gunned down trying to go first to third by centerfielder John Servidio. And Moore fanned Elias Otero to end the threat.
“I was getting into a groove in extended (spring training) and it carried over to today,” he said. “I kept the ball down and all my fielders did a heck of a job.”
Lopez, the first-year manager, continued to mix and match. Bouchard, who had an RBI and scored a run, moved from shortstop to second base, creating room for Luis Nieves, who scored once. Ralph Henriquez was back, at designated hitter, and he also produced an RBI. Lopez said the lineup will change from day-to-day, particularly with the additions of recent signees, second baseman James Ewing and outfielders Nick Santomauro and Joey August.
“My job is to put the guys out there I feel will perform,” he said. “Everybody is working hard so far. The key is to keep everyone sharp.”
©2009 Community Newspaper Group
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