Porcupine Points: June 17 at Toledo
EARLY LEAD, LATE CLIMAX: All of the offense came early, but the drama apexed late. A three-run second sported RBI hits by Antoan Richardson, Corban Joseph and Zoilo Almonte as the RailRiders grabbed a 4-2 lead in the second inning at Toledo. No runs followed, but Toledo threatened. Starter Shane Greene (4-2) survived a bases-loaded score in the third to toss six innings of two-run, two hit ball en route to his fourth win. In the ninth, back-to-back knocks greeted a closing Preston Claiborne. Power-bat prospect Jordan Lennerton’s second career sacrifice moved his teammates up, but Claiborne struck out Danny Worth and induced a weak fly from the IL’s fifth-best hitter, Ezequiel Carrera, to secure his second save.
STREAK SNAPPED: The win snapped a season-worst five-game slide for the RailRiders. It marked the team’s longest stumble since a five gamer from July 19-23 last season. The streak halting win then also came against Toledo when the RailRiders took a 4-1 game in Moosic on July 24 and Dellin Betances got a save.
HIT ME WITH YOUR BEST SHOT: The RailRiders banged out 11 hits for their first double-digit showing since June 8, also against Toledo in Moosic.
GREENE WITH ENVY: Greene’s third quality start of the year saw him surrender just two runs on two hits over his six innings. He walked a season-worst-tying four, but won for the fourth time in six starts.
CURSES, ZOILED AGAIN: Zoilo Almonte‘s 2-for-4 night with a double and an RBI extended the league’s best active hitting streak to 14 games. The string’s early stage was disrupted by a nearly month-long stay in the bigs. Despite that, he leads the team in home runs (10) and RBIs (35). During his hitting streak he has gone 20-for-59 (.339) with four home runs, 12 RBIs and eight runs scored. If Almonte gets a hit in his next SWB game, he will share honors with Rochester’s Chris Parmalee for one of the league’s five best hitting streaks this season. Kevin Pillar’s 18-gamer with Buffalo is the current gold standard with Adonis Garcia‘s 17-gamer tied for second. Garcia’s was the SWB franchise’s best in half a decade.
FLASHING BACK: For last season’s RailRiders, the Columbus/Toledo journey was a season-changing odyssey. SWB dropped the last two of a home set against Gwinnett before heading to Toledo. The Mud Hens blew out the RailRiders in the opener, 10-2, and took three of the four games in the series. The Clippers then swept the RailRiders as the Ohio road trip made up the meat of the RailRiders’ 12 losses in a 13-game span. The team was a season-high-tying six games over .500 at the nosedive’s start (20-14), but five under (21-26) at the close. The 2013 RailRiders would not own a winning record again.
BEST IN THE WEST: This series in Toledo wraps up a stretch of 24 straight games against non-divisional foes with the bulk of them coming against the IL West. The team is 8-13 through 21 games of this run and 12-9 against IL West teams on the year. When SWB returns home, it begins the second half of its 144-game schedule and plunges back into IL North play against Pawtucket. Two-thirds of the team’s remaining 72 contests will pit it against its Northern brothers.
OFF THE RAILS: The RailRiders have allowed a homer in a season-worst eight straight games…Former Mud Hen Scott Sizemore has gone 1-for15 against his old club this season…The one hit was a home run off Kyle Lobstein on June 9…Jose Pirela is the lone active IL player with more than 80 hits after his 2-for-5 performance last night…The effort lowered his June batting average from .411 to 410, which trails only Norfolk’s Steve Clevenger (.460) in the league…Rob Refsnyder singled, scored, got hit by a pitch and stole his first base at Triple-A…After beginning the road trip in an 0-for-14 funk with seven strikeouts, he has gone 3-for-5 with a triple…Toledo went 4-for-4 in stolen base tries including a delayed double steal in the third by Danny Worth and Ezequiel Carrera…The RailRiders own the loop’s second-worst caught-stealing efficiency (.231), better than only Louisville (.207)…Toledo’s Mike Hessman, who stands one home run shy of snapping a tie with Buffalo legend Ollie Carnegie for the most home runs in IL history, did not play.