The Cyclones are in first place after Gant pitches a gem

John Gant faced the minimum through nine innings for a complete game shutout that put the Cyclones in first place. Photo courtesy of the Brooklyn Cyclones.

John Gant faced the minimum through nine innings for a complete game shutout that put the Cyclones in first place. Photo courtesy of the Brooklyn Cyclones.

For the first time all season, the Brooklyn Cyclones are in first place in the McNamara Division following a brilliant performance by John Gant who tossed a complete game shutout, the fourth in the team’s history, in a 1-0 victory Wednesday night in Coney Island.

Gant carried a perfect game into the sixth inning, retired the first 17 batters he faced, and ultimately pitched a one-hit shutout as he needed just 91 pitches to get through the game. He actually faced the minimum amount of batters he could have faced as the lone hit he allowed was erased on a caught stealing and the walk he issued in the ninth was erased on a double play. It was pure dominance and one of the best pitched games in Cyclones history.

The Cyclones didn’t get much offense themselves as they were limited to just four hits. The lone run they were able to get across the board was thanks to some small ball. Anthony Chavez led off the sixth inning with a single, moved to second on a failed pickoff attempt, was moved to third on a bunt by Eris Peguero, and scored on a Gavin Cecchini ground out.

If not for the bad pickoff attempt, the Cyclones could have played in back-to-back extra innings games. Instead, they are in first place and Gant’s game goes down in history.

• The Cyclones win and Aberdeen IronBird loss means that the Cyclones are half a game ahead of them for first place in the McNamara Division. Any combination of seven Cyclones wins and IronBird loses gets the ‘Clones into the playoffs.

• The Cyclones and IronBirds each have seven games left to play (the IronBirds lost three games off their schedule due to rain) with two head-to-head this weekend.

• The Cyclones are still technically alive in the Wild Card race where they are 5.5 games out. The IronBirds play three games against the Lowell Spinners, one of the teams ahead of them in the Wild Card standings, so it is in the Cyclones interest to see the Spinners win those games eliminating them from Wild Card contention, but helping them to win the division.

• The Cyclones have two games coming up now against the Staten Island Yankees, whom they are losing the season series to five games to six.

• After the two-game SI series, it’s the IronBirds for two games and then the Tri-City ValleyCats for three. The Cyclones just took a three-game series from Tri-City 2-1, but Tri-City has the third best record in the league so those games won’t be easy.

• Two more wins out of seven games guarantees the Cyclones a winning record this season. They have not finished a season with a losing record since the franchise started in Brooklyn in 2001.

• The Cyclones have been using a six-man rotation lately so they could skip a start by Darwin Frias this weekend if they want. They have Miller Diaz and Robert Gsellman going up against the SI Yanks these next two days.