Having lived on the edge for the better part of a week, the Aberdeen IronBirds were knocked out of first place in the New York-Penn League's McNamara Division Wednesday night with a 7-3 road loss to the Lowell Spinners.
The IronBirds (34-31), a half game in front of Brooklyn at the beginning of the week, won an 11-inning contest on Monday to stay ahead, then matched losses with Brooklyn on Tuesday evening. Wednesday, however, saw Brooklyn (36-32) top Tri-City, 1-0, to take over the division lead. Heading into Thursday's home game Hudson Valley, Aberdeen was a half game out of first. Hudson Valley was two games behind Aberdeen in third place, while Staten Island was seven games out of first.
The lone IronBird with multiple hits in Wednesday's loss was Austin Wynns, who went 3-for-4 with a double and one run. Mike Yastrzemski was 1-for-4 with a triple, one run and one RBI, while Ronarsy Ledesma went 1-for-4 with a double and one RBI. Trey Mancini had one RBI for Aberdeen and Jared Breen scored one run.
IronBirds starter Mitch Horacek (5-4) was charged with the loss. Over five innings of work, Horacek struck out two, walked two and allowed six earned runs on 11 hits.
Nick Cunningham tossed two innings of hitless relief, striking out two along the way, while Jose Figuereo did not allow a hit and recorded one strikeout in his one-inning relief appearance.
Win streak ended
The Aberdeen IronBirds, one night after an 11th-inning rally saved them from losing first place in the New York-Penn League's McNamara Division, suffered their first loss in four games on Tuesday night, as they were topped, 8-2, on the road by the Lowell Spinners.
The defeat, however, did not drop Aberdeen out of the division's top spot. Heading into Tuesday's matchup, the IronBirds held a narrow, half-game lead over second-place Brooklyn, which had won its previous four contests.
On Tuesday, playing the visiting Tri-City ValleyCats, Brooklyn came up short in a 16-inning marathon, losing 5-3, and failing to take advantage of Aberdeen's defeat.
As of Wednesday, the IronBirds (34-30) were still leading Brooklyn (35-32) by a half game, and were ahead of third-place Hudson Valley (33-34) by 2.5 games. Staten Island (28-39) was at the bottom of the division, 7.5 games out of first place.
Conor Bierfeldt, who belted an 11th-inning solo homer in the IronBirds Monday victory, came through again on Tuesday, hitting a two-run shot in the fourth inning that accounted for all of Aberdeen's runs.
Lowell came back to score once in the fifth, then broke the game open with a five-run outburst in the sixth. Two more runs from the host team followed in the eighth.
Aberdeen starter Steven Brault (1-2) went 5-1/3 innings in the loss, striking out four, walking one and allowing one earned run on two hits.