The home run ball continued to hurt the Lake Monsters on Saturday night as Tri-City connected for three homers, two solo shots that gave the ValleyCats a lead and a Preston Tucker grand slam for a five-run lead, as Vermont dropped its season-high seventh straight game with a 9-2 New York-Penn League loss at Bruno Stadium.
Austin Elkins hit the second pitch from Vermont starter Nolan Sanburn in the bottom of the first deep over the rightfield fence for a quick 1-0 lead. After Vermont scored twice in the top of the fifth and Tri-City tied the game at two in the bottom of the inning, the ValleyCats took a 3-2 lead on a long Jarred McKinney one-out solo homer off reliever Tyler Vail in the sixth. It was McKinney's fourth home run of the season and his third in the last two days against Vermont.
A single, fielder's choice and two-out walk loaded the bases later in the inning for Tri-City to chase Vail. Ryan Dull came on in relief and fell behind in the count 3-1 to Tucker, who then smashed his eighth home run of the season with a grand slam to leftcenter for a 7-2 ValleyCats lead. Tri-City added two more runs on five hits off Dull in the eighth inning.
Vermont pitchers have now allowed 37 homers overall on the season, including 11 in the last seven games and 15 over the last 22, while the Lake Monsters offense has been able to connect for just 16 homers all season (one in last 18 games). Vermont now has a 3-25 record when its opponent hits homer, including 0-8 when they hit two or more homers.
The Lake Monsters scored its two runs, both unearned, in the fifth as Reynaldo Mateo reached on a throwing error and scored on a Chris Bostick RBI triple to rightcenter. Bostick was out at home on a botched squeeze attempt, but Vermont was able to take a 2-1 lead as Brett Vertigan walked and scored on a John Wooten RBI double to leftcenter.
Every batter in the Tri-City lineup had at least one hit as the Stedler Division champion had 16 hits on the night. Tucker went 3-for-5 with the grand slam, while Tyler Wierzbicki was 2-for-4 with a double and two RBI. Four other ValleyCats had a two-hit game .and Jeremiah Meiners gave up one hit over three scoreless innings for the win. Bostick and Wooten both had two hits, a double and one RBI for the Lake Monsters, while Vail (2-3) five runs over 2 2/3 innings to take the loss.
Vermont (27-38), which has lost its last 11 road games, will look to avoid its second straight winless six-game roadtrip at Tri-City (47-18) on Sunday starting at 5:00 pm. The Lake Monsters then return home to historic Centennial Field for a quick two-game homestand on Monday and Tuesday against Connecticut at 7:05 pm.