Porcupine Points: June 18 at Toledo
DOUBLE AGENTS: Former Toledo Mud Hen Scott Sizemore burned his former squad with a bases-loaded single up the middle in the ninth that plated the tying and winning runs as the RailRiders claimed an 8-7 Tuesday triumph.
RALLY ‘RIDERS: Sizemore delivered the team’s lone advantage. The RailRiders rallied from three different deficits including a 4-0 hole in the second inning. The ninth-inning offensive came at the expense of former SWB closer Kevin Whelan (2-1), who suffered his second blown save and his first loss. The RailRiders tagged him with two runs on three hits. He entered the night with a 1.19 ERA and .173 BAA. The league has mustered a total of five runs and 17 hits against him. Three of those runs and six of the hits have come courtesy of the RailRiders.
INTO THAT GOOD NIGHT: The Mud Hens did not go quietly. Three-time NL All-Star Heath Bell walked a pair and saw both men reach scoring position in the final frame. However, Bell did not yield a hit or a run as he secured his second IL save of the year and his first as a RailRider.
AT FIRST BLEICH: Lefty Jeremy Bleich tossed four-plus innings in his second Triple-A start. A 35-pitch second inning saw four runs cross against him. He owns an 8.10 ERA as a RailRider. Today he turns 27 years old.
CURSES, ZOILED AGAIN: Zoilo Almonte walked twice and singled once to extend the league’s best active hitting streak to 15 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 21-for-62 (.339) with four home runs, 12 RBIs and eight runs scored. Almonte and Rochester’s Chris Parmelee now share 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.
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 10-12 through 22 games of this run and 13-9 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 nine straight games…Jose Pirela‘s 2-for-5 performance last night lowered his June batting average from .410 to .409, which trails only Norfolk’s Steve Clevenger (.444) and Syracuse’s Tyler Moore (.421) in the league…Toledo went 3-for-3 in stolen base tries and is 7-for-7 on the series…The RailRiders own the loop’s third-worst caught-stealing efficiency (.223), better than only Indianapolis (.217) and 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, has yet to face the RailRiders this season while he mends a wrist injury from a collision at home plate, oddly enough, in Buffalo…Toledo was 24-0 when leading after eight innings before Tuesday’s theatrics while the RailRiders were 1-28 when trailing after eight…The RailRiders entered the game hitting .203 with bases loaded (12-for-59, 10-1B)…Austin Romine‘s second error of the season in 329 total chances lowered his fielding percentage from .997 to .994 and cost him the catbird seat among IL catchers in that category…The RailRiders had lost their last five one-run games…Before the game, the Yankees activated Francisco Cervelli from the DL and optioned John Ryan Murphy to Triple-A…Toledo’s Tyler Collins popped out on a bunt try in the ninth inning…The Hens’ three-hole hitter does not have a successful sacrifice as a professional…He broke his bat over his knee afterwards…SWB has 13 come-from-behind wins on the season…Tuesday saw the team overcome its second-largest deficit of the year…It rallied from down five to win at Louisville on May 28.