TROY, N.Y. — An eight-run third inning propels the Tri-City ValleyCats (4-3) over the Lowell Spinners (3-4) on Thursday night at Joe Bruno Stadium.

The Cats have now won their last three-out-of-four games after starting the season 1-2 and have moved into second place in the New York Penn League Stedler Division. So far this season Tri-City has averaged over seven runs per game and Thursday night was no exception.

2018 draft pick Marty Costes led the charge with two RBIs. The left fielder brought in those two runs when he hit a two-out triple in the bottom of the third extending the ValleyCat lead to 7-1.

ValleyCat second basemen Enmanuel Valdez also got in on the action when he went 3-for4 from the plate and smacked an absolute moonshot home run in the bottom of the fourth. Valdez now has a .300 average and has hit three homers in seven games.

"I feel good," said Valdez. "We just come here click and work and get more comfortable as the season comes along."

The Spinners were the first to get on the board Thursday night when Lowell third baseman Garret Benge hit a ground ball up the middle that scored teammate Xavier LeGrant making the game 1-0 and would be the only run that Jose Hernandez would surrender.

Hernandez was on assignment from the High-A affiliate Buies Creek Astros. Thursday night was his first start since getting Tommy John surgery back in 2016. Hernandez gave up one earned run and struck out three batters in two innings of work.

"I feel more strong than two years ago and I'm ready to compete," said Hernandez after the game.

With one out in the second inning and a Lowell runner on third base, Hernandez struck out two batters in a row to retire the side and strand a runner in scoring position. That's how his night ended.

"He [Hernandez] got a couple unlucky breaks in the first inning, but I think he did a nice job overall," said ValleyCat manager Jason Bell.

This is Bell's first managing job and at the age of 27 he's currently the second youngest coach in affiliated baseball. He was an addition to the Astros organization last year when he was a development coach Quad Cities, who went on to win the Midwest League Championship.

The Cats are back in action tonight at 7 p.m. when they host Lowell for the second game of a three-game series with the Spinners. Try-City has played a game every day since June 15th and won't see a break in the action until the 27th. They lead the league with nine home runs through seven games.




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