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Aces restore two-game gap over Sox
Melbourne take 2-1 series lead over Sydney
12/30/2017 4:48 AM ET
Melbourne import Brett Cumberland hit his fifth homer of the season in the Aces' win over Sydney (C) SMP IMAGES/ABL MEDIA
Melbourne import Brett Cumberland hit his fifth homer of the season in the Aces' win over Sydney (C) SMP IMAGES/ABL MEDIA 

Fourth-placed Melbourne survived a late scare to restore a two-game buffer over Sydney on Saturday night.

A night after scoring the opening six runs of the game, the Aces opened up a 3-0 lead against Blue Sox starter Todd Grattan.

They then withstood a late rally by Sydney to win 6-5 at Blacktown International Sports Park, moving two wins clear of their fifth-ranked rivals.

The Blue Sox scored three in the eighth and cut the margin to one in the bottom of the ninth before leaving the bases loaded to end the game.

Brett Cumberland's two-run double opened Melbourne's account in the first after Darryl George was out at home in the previous at bat.

A throwing error by Sydney catcher John Collins on a stolen base attempt allowed Cumberland to score, making it 3-0.

Working with a lead, left-hander Kennedy produced his longest outing of the season to record the win.

The 22-year-old went five innings, allowing one run on three hits, walking two and fanning two.

His only blemish came in the bottom of the first as Trent D'Antonio scored on a groundball by Michael Suchy after Kennedy issued a lead-off walk.

Cumberland restored a three-run lead for Kennedy to work with in the third, homering to right field to make it 4-1.

The home run was Cumberland's fifth of the season and second in as many nights.

George made it 5-1 with an RBI-single in the fifth after Matthew Zablan reached on an error by shortstop Jacob Younis.

Chiang Chih-hsien cut the lead with a two-run single as the Blue Sox added three runs in the eighth after Delmon Young's RBI-single made it 6-1.

Former big leaguer Matt Marksberry walked Chiang to make it a one-run ballgame in the ninth after inheriting the bases loaded.

Marksberry then punched out Lars Anderson and Connor MacDonald as the visitors held on to win.

This story was not subject to the approval of the Australian Baseball League or its clubs.