Johnson Homers Twice as SWB Tops Syracuse

Syracuse, N.Y.Dan Johnson homered twice and Caleb Cotham tossed seven strong innings to help lead the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders (Triple-A/New York Yankees) to a 7-2 victory over the Syracuse Chiefs (Washington Nationals). The two home runs give Johnson 20 for the season, as the RailRiders closed out their season series against the Chiefs with a 10-6 record.

Cotham (4-5) scattered eight hits over his seven innings of work. He was incredibly pitch efficient, tossing just 77. He did not walk a batter and threw just 20 pitches outside of the strike zone.

The RailRiders got off to a fast start with a run in the top of the first inning. Melky Mesa led the game off with a walk, and moved to second when J.R. Murphy drew a free pass. Two outs later, Randy Ruiz singled through the right side to drive home Mesa and give SWB the early lead.

Another run was added in the top of the fourth. Johnson led off with a base hit, and he moved to third base on two consecutive wild pitches. Ronnier Mustelier fouled off multiple pay-off pitches from Danny Rosenbaum, and he drove a single to left field to plate Johnson.

SWB broke the game open in the fifth. Mesa led off with a double to the left-field corner. Following a walk to Murphy, Adonis Garcia reached on a fielder’s choice. Second baseman Danny Espinosa tried to convert the double play, but the ball popped out of his glove and got away from him, which allowed Mesa to score. Johnson then hit a towering home run to right field that drove home Garcia to put the RailRiders in front, 5-0.

Alberto Gonzalez led off the sixth inning with a single to center field. He later moved to second on a wild pitch, and scored when Mesa doubled to right field.

The scoring for SWB was capped in the seventh when Johnson hit his second home run of the game. With one out, he smacked a line-drive homer over the right field fence to extend the RailRider lead to 7-0. It was Johnson’s 20th home run of the season, which places him seventh in the International League.

Syracuse would score two runs in the bottom of the seventh on solo home runs by Tyler Moore and Zach Walters.

Rosenbaum (6-8) was handed the loss after allowing two runs on three hits in four innings. He walked four batters before his exit. The Chiefs bullpen conceded five of the runs, including the two Johnson home runs. SWB’s Dellin Betances worked the final two innings, and struck out three.

The RailRiders now embark on the second-half of their road trip when they travel to Buffalo, N.Y. SWB will take on the Bisons (Toronto Blue Jays) beginning on Thursday night with a doubleheader. First pitch is slated for 5:30 p.m., and Chris Bootcheck (9-5, 3.70) will get the start in game one for SWB. Pre-game coverage will get underway at 5:00 p.m. on NEPA Sports Radio – The GAME, Northeast PA’s largest sports radio network: 100.7 FM, 1340 WYCK-AM, 1400 WICK-AM, 1440 WCDL-AM and 106.7 FM.

– SWB RailRiders – All Aboard! –

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