NILES - After Mahoning Valley Scrappers manager Ted Kubiak pulled Juan Romero for loafing after hitting a popup in the fourth inning, his replacement, Mark Bradley, gave the Scrappers a spark off the bench with a spectacular baserunning display to give his team the lead.
But the Mahoning Valley bullpen was unable to hold the advantage, as pinch hitter Torsten Boss hit a two-run home run in the top of the eighth inning and Aberdeen held on for a 7-6 victory that gave the Ironbirds two victories in the three-game series.
"Not a thing; he knew it," Kubiak said of what he told Romero after benching him. "I didn't have to tell him. They've been told enough."
After Bradley entered the game in right field in the top of the fifth, he walked with two outs in the sixth. He stole second base and advanced to third as Aberdeen catcher Scott Kalish threw the ball into center field for an error. With Bradley heading into third, centerfielder Roderick Bernadina attempted to throw him out, but Bernadina threw the ball into the left-field stands for another error to bring Bradley home and give the Scrappers a 5-4 lead.
"Ted just gave me the steal sign," Bradley said. "I saw that the second baseman was coming over after the ball got past him, took the next bag, realized that the ball was going into the stands. Off one play I scored. Pretty amazing."
"He's a good little player. I can count on him to do some good things anytime, and he did," Kubiak said. "He's a good little player. He plays a good outfield, swings the bat OK. He did a great job on the steal because I gave him the sign and didn't give him much to look at. He picked the sign up, stole the base, got the wild throw and scored the run to put us ahead."
Bradley said that he didn't have any difficulty after being put into the game unexpectedly.
"It wasn't a big deal when Ted said go into right field," he said. "Just got to get loose, get the legs warm, the arm warm."
The score stayed the same until the eighth when the Ironbirds went ahead for good against Scrappers reliever Jack Wagoner (0-2).
Roberto Ortiz led off the inning with a single to left, bringing up Boss as a pinch hitter. With a 2-2 count, Boss pulled a Wagoner pitch into the Scrappers' bullpen in right field for his third homer of the season and a 6-5 lead to score the eventual game-winning run.
"I got the call, so I was excited to get a chance to help my ball club win the ball game," Boss said. "I stepped up there, looked for my pitch, and I think he hung one for me and I was able to put the bat on it."
"There was some learning situations there," Kubiak said. "That's why we lost the game. But that happens. We'll talk about it with them."
After Aberdeen scored another run in the top of the ninth, Mahoning Valley nearly tied the game bottom half.
Tyler Naquin led off with a single to left against Ironbirds reliever Jose Nivar. He advanced to second on a passed ball and went to third as Joe Wendle struck out but forced a throw to first by Kalush. Charlie Valerio walked and Joe Sever singled to score Naquin. Aaron Siliga bounced into a fielder's choice to put runners at the corners, but Jeremy Lucas flew out to center field to end the game.
The Scrappers (10-9) begin a three-game series tonight at 7:05 against Connecticut.