Holding a 5-3 lead over the visiting Vermont Lake Monsters on Wednesday night, the Aberdeen IronBirds watched their advantage slip away when the guests rallied for four runs in the eighth. Aberdeen could not close the gap in their remaining two at-bats and took a 7-5 loss.
With the defeat, Aberdeen (17-17) fell back to the .500 mark at 17-17.
Starting on the mound for Aberdeen was former St. Paul's School standout Steve Johnson, who is the minor leagues while rehabbing a strained oblique muscle. Johnson, who last pitched at Ripken Stadium in high school, went 2-1/3 innings, striking out four, walking one and allowing two earned runs on three hits.
First baseman Trey Mancini continued his hot streak at the plate, going 2-for-4 with a double, two RBIs and one run scored.
'Birds shut down
In their first game back at Ripken Stadium after a six-day road trip, the IronBirds saw their pitching staff hold the visiting Vermont Lake Monsters to just one run, but, because their bats failed them, the hosts had to swallow a 1-0 loss Tuesday.
Aberdeen starter Steven Brault lasted three innings, striking out five, walking one and holding the visitors to one hit in a no decision.
Reliever Austin Urban (1-3) took the loss, tossing four innings in which he struck out one and allowed one earned run on six hits.
Jorge Rivera closed out the game for the IronBirds with a two-inning relief stint, striking out three, walking two and surrendering one hit along the way.
The lone IronBird with multiple hits was Jonathan Schoop, who went 2-for-4 with a pair of singles. Schoop, a member of the Class-AAA Norfolk Tides for the majority of the 2013 season, is playing with Aberdeen as part of a rehab assignment.
Mike Yastrzemski went 1-for-4 with a double, which turned out to be Aberdeen's only extra-base hit.