Porcupine Points: May 14 at Lehigh Valley
HAYMAKER HAVOC: The RailRiders outhit the IronPigs in last night’s series opener 11-10, but fell 8-4. A big reason – big hits. Just one of the RailRiders’ knocks went for extra bases compared to half of the Pigs’ pokes. Four came against starter Zach Nuding (1-2) who was charged with six runs in just 3.2 innings.
ON A ROLL: Kyle Roller delivered SWB’s lone extra-base knock with his first Triple-A tater. The two-out, two-run shot in the seventh was his 10th of the season including his time with Double-A Trenton. Only the man who joined the Trenton roster when Roller came to NEPA, Peter O’Brien (13), has more homers on the Yankees farm this season.
HOT HITTER: Adonis Garcia went 3-for-4 with an RBI before he was removed from the game while playing the field during a Tyson Gillies at-bat in the eighth. Garcia has hit safely in 10 straight games and owns the IL’s best contact clip since it began on May 3. His 18-for-40 performance makes for slashes of .450/.488/.525/1.013 as his season-long average has leapt 73 points (.237-.310).
ANNA BEGINS: After a 1-for-20 homestand, Dean Anna broke through with a 3-for-4 performance including a walk and a run scored. Anna hit second in the lineup yesterday. Each of his first 13 affairs saw him slotted third in the nine.
JUMP FOR ZOI: Before last night’s game, the New York Yankees recalled the RailRiders’ best run producer, Zoilo Almonte. The switch-hitting outfielder led the team with six home runs and 24 RBIs. Only three RailRiders have assembled half as many RBIs as Almonte (Russ Canzler – 14; Ramon Flores – 14; Garcia – 13). No other RailRider has more than two home runs.
BACK IN BUSINESS: While Almonte got called up, two RailRiders returned. Danny Burawa was activated off the disabled list. He tossed a scoreless inning on 11 pitches (seven strikes). After a Jose Pirela error allowed Tyler Henson to reach at the start of the frae, Burawa induced three straight groundouts. It was his first action in nearly a month since April 17 at Buffalo. Corban Joseph also returned to the active roster after a short stint on the temporarily inactive list. He and his wife Emery welcomed their family’s first child, a baby girl named Addie Tyne. Joseph last saw game action on May 7 against Indianapolis.
IRONRAIL TROPHY: On June 13 of last year, the RailRiders and IronPigs announced the creation of the “IronRail Trophy”. The 16-game series between the RailRiders and IronPigs decides the annual winner. The stakes have the losing team’s GM singing in a fat lady costume on the winner’s video board after home wins in the series and the heavy hardware itself. The trophy is held by the previous year’s winning team. The 2013 series was an 8-8 draw, but per the rules, the winner of the last game won the tiebreaker. By taking a 3-2 contest on Aug. 31 in Allentown, the RailRiders claimed the prize. SWB owns a 57-44 lead in the all-time series dating back to Lehigh Valley’s inaugural 2008 season. Lehigh Valley has only won a season series against SWB once, and did so by the slimmest of margins when it went 9-7 in 2010. The RailRiders trail this year’s set, 4-1.
OFF THE RAILS: During the game, veteran skipper Dave Miley got ejected while arguing an interference error that turned an inning-ending out into an extra Pigs’ run in the fifth…It marked Miley’s second ejection in the last week (Saturday vs. Durham) and on the season…After a season-best six-game win streak, the RailRiders have lost three of their last four…Antoan Richardson started in right field for the first time this season and just the 28th time in his 10-year pro career…He last did so on May 29, 2012 while with Double-A Bowie at Akron…One of the runs allowed by Nuding came on a balk, the second of his pro career and his first since May 8, 2011 while with Low-A Charleston…The first came against another Phillies-affiliated team, the Lakewood BlueClaws…Including last night, the RailRiders are playing 16 of 20 on the road.