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Red Wings Best RailRiders

SWB Can Clinch Division Title Thursday Night

Rochester, N.Y. – It’d be better at home anyway. Needing a win to cement their first division title since 2012, the SWB RailRiders (Triple-A/New York Yankees) fell victim to the hanging-by-a-thread Rochester Red Wings (Minnesota Twins) on Wednesday night, 8-1. The RailRiders (78-61) have a magic number of one and need just one win the rest of the way, or a Red Wings’ (73-66) loss, to clinch the IL North title.

The Red Wings assembled a picket fence with single scores in each of the game’s first four innings against starter Kyle Haynes (3-2). The barrage included leadoff homers by Danny Ortiz in back-to-back at-bats, sparking the second and fourth innings.

During that time, SWB secured its lone run when Rochester native Cito Culver tripled at the start of the third and later scored on a Gregorio Petit groundout.

The RailRiders entered the seventh in shouting distance, down 4-1. However, the Red Wings sent all nine men to the plate in a four-run frame highlighted by a three-run homer from Aaron Hicks as part of a 4-for-4 night that saw him fall a triple shy of the cycle.

Haynes allowed four runs on six hits and a walk over five innings. He gave up two homers, tossed a wild pitch and was called for a balk. His counterpart, Taylor Rogers (10-12), picked up the win with seven innings of one-run ball. Rogers whiffed seven and walked one.

The RailRiders will host “Mariano Rivera Day” on Thursday, Sept. 3 against the Buffalo Bisons (Toronto Blue Jays) with an appearance by the Yankees’ legendary closer himself. The team’s final regular-season home series of the season, a short two-game set, will open with a battle of southpaws. SWB’s Eric Wooten (2-5, 4.73) will face Buffalo’s Andrew Albers (2-10, 5.20). For more information please call (570) 969-BALL (2255) or visit swbrailriders.com.

OFF THE RAILS:

SWB right-hander Conor Mullee made his Triple-A debut with 1.2 scoreless innings of relief. He became the 74th different RailRider to see game action this season, breaking the franchise record of 73 established in 2013. Should a single new face get playing time before the regular-season finale, the RailRiders would tie the International League’s all-time record for players used in a campaign. The 2012 Norfolk Tides employed the services of 75 men to set the mark. The Tides also tied the record with 25 different starting pitchers. The RailRiders have used 24 different starting hurlers.

– SWB RailRiders Baseball – The Place to Be! –

SWB Game Notes 9-2-15

CLICK HERE for the Sept. 2 edition of the RailRiders’ game notes. CLICK HERE to listen to the radio call live with John Sadak and Darren Headrick. Pregame coverage starts at 6:35 p.m.

ABOUT LAST NIGHT: Win, and you’re in. The math is that simple. With a 2-1 triumph at Frontier Field on Tuesday night, the SWB RailRiders trimmed their magic number to one with the host and second-place Rochester Red Wings. The RailRiders could become the first IL team to clinch a division title with a victory against the Red Wings tonight.

18 AGAIN: The RailRiders’ third straight win lifted them to a season-high-tying 18 games above .500. Before this season, the franchise had not stood that many games above .500 since the then-SWB Yankees won the division at 84-60 in 2012. The team has not been in the playoffs since that effort.

BIG BLAST: Gregorio Petit got the RailRiders on the board with his first home run of the season, a pulled solo shot to left in the second. He hit 12 homers between the minors and bigs last season.

I’M JUST A SIMPLE CAVE MAN: In his Triple-A debut, Jake Cave delivered the game-winning run with a seventh-inning sacrifice fly. It marked the team’s first pinch-hit RBI of the season and his first career pinch-hit appearance.

DAY BY DAVIES: Kyle Davies (10-8) became SWB’s first double-digit game winner since IL All-Star Chris Bootcheck won 10 games in 2013. Davies allowed one run over six innings. Over his last 12 starts he has gone 5-2. During that time he has notched a 2.20 ERA, .224 batting average against and 1.06 WHIP. The ERA and WHIP rank sixth in the league over that span. Four of his wins have come over six starts against the Red Wings.

SO YOU’RE SAYING THERE’S A CHANCE: Cave, who pinch hit for catcher Juan Graterol, combined with his defensive replacement, Kyle Higashioka, to lift the RailRiders’ number of players used in a game this season to 73. That ties the 2013 RailRiders for the all-time SWB single-season record. Buffalo’s 2014 unit also used 73 players for the third-highest total in IL history. The 2015 RailRiders could challenge the IL’s all-time revolving-door records. The 2012 Norfolk Tides set the gold standard with 75 different players used and tied the mark for most starting pitchers with 25. Louisville stands in sole possession of second with 74 men used in 2003. The Buffalo Bisons employed 25 different starting pitchers to set and tie that record in 2002 and 2004. SWB has used 24 different starting hurlers this season to tie for fourth with four other clubs (Louisville, 2003; Pawtucket, 1995 & 2006; Columbus, 2007).

MVG: Yesterday Ben Gamel was named both an IL postseason All-Star and its Rookie of the Year. The 23-year-old co-leads MiLB with 14 triples and entered this series ranked among the IL’s top three in batting average (3rd, .304), hits (3rd, 146), slugging percentage (2nd, .476), extra-base hits (3rd, 49), runs scored (3rd, 74) and total bases (2nd, 229). He leads the loop in outfield assists (13). The Neptune Beach, Fla. native gave his team the lead for good Monday night with a two-run homer in the seventh, his 10th of the year. He entered 2015 with 10 career home runs over five seasons and 1,634 at-bats. He also singled in that Buffalo contest for his team-best 50th multi-hit game. The usual leadoff man paces SWB with 61 RBIs. He is SWB’s first IL ROY since Austin Jackson in 2009.

OFF THE RAILS: In his first Triple-A action since June 30, Ali Castillo went 3-for-5 with a double and a stolen base…He hit second in the lineup for the first time with SWB after filling that role 31 times at Double-A…Mark Montgomery tossed a perfect eighth and retired a pair of IL All-Stars in James Beresford and Reynaldo Rodriguez…He has not allowed a run over five outings and 5.1 innings at Triple-A this season…Nick Goody fired a perfect ninth for his fourth save with SWB…He has held the IL to a .188 average while striking out 23 in 19.2 IP (10.53/9IP)…Yesterday, three men who have worn a RailRiders uniform in 2015 were named to the preliminary Arizona Fall League rosters: LHP Chaz Hebert, C Gary Sanchez and LHP Tyler Webb… The RailRiders went 1-for-10 with runners in scoring position last night while the Red Wings finished 0-for-6…Despite its loss to Columbus, Indianapolis became the first IL team to clinch a playoff spot thanks to Gwinnett’s loss to Durham…The Indians are guaranteed at least a wild-card spot.

RailRiders Win, Magic Number Down to One

SWB Can Clinch Division Title Wednesday Night

Rochester, N.Y. – Win, and you’re in. The math is that simple. With a 2-1 triumph at Frontier Field on Tuesday night, the SWB RailRiders (Triple-A/New York Yankees) trimmed their magic number to one with the host and second-place Rochester Red Wings (Minnesota Twins). The RailRiders (78-60) would become the first IL team to clinch a division title with a victory against the Red Wings (72-66) on Wednesday night.

A roster ravaged by September call-ups relied on some familiar faces early. Gregorio Petit put SWB on the board with his first home run of the season, a pulled solo shot to left in the second against starter Michael Bowden.

While Bowden would rebound and retired the next 12 men in order, the RailRiders’ Kyle Davies did some dealing of his own. The team’s veteran ace tossed six innings of one-run ball, allowing just three hits and no walks in the process while whiffing five.

The lone run against Davies came in odd fashion in the fourth. Reynaldo Rodriguez led off the inning with a strikeout, but reached on a wild pitch. Josmil Pinto then singled to second. With Danny Ortiz at the plate thereafter, Rodriguez broke for third. An errant throw by catcher Juan Graterol eluded third baseman and Rochester native Cito Culver, allowing Rodriguez to score for a 1-1 draw.

In the seventh, Slade Heathcott worked a leadoff walk, took second on Petit’s groundout to the pitcher and claimed third on Culver’s single to left. With Graterol due up, Jake Cave entered as a pinch hitter for his first career Triple-A action. He bashed a sac fly to center that allowed Heathcott to score the go-ahead and game-winning run.

The lead held up thanks to the efforts of relievers Andury Acevedo, Mark Montgomery and Nick Goody. Acevedo worked around a pair of two-out baserunners in the seventh by inducing a grounder to second from big-league rehabber Aaron Hicks. Montgomery struck out two in a perfect eighth that sported a pair of IL All-Star hitters in James Beresford and Reynaldo Rodriguez. Goody recorded a strikeout in a perfect ninth for his fourth save.

With the win, Davies (10-8), became the first double-digit game winner for the RailRiders since IL All-Star Chris Bootcheck won 10 games in 2013. No RailRider has ever won 11 or more games in a season. Bowden (10-5) allowed just two runs on four hits and two walks over seven innings to take the loss. He struck out eight.

The series concludes at 7:05 p.m. on Wednesday night as the RailRiders and Red Wings face each other for the final time on the regular season. SWB is set to toss right-hander Kyle Haynes (3-1, 4.13) against southpaw Taylor Rogers (9-12, 4.19).

The RailRiders will host “Mariano Rivera Day” on Thursday, Sept. 3 against the Bisons with an appearance by the Yankees’ legendary closer himself. For more information please call (570) 969-BALL (2255) or visit swbrailriders.com.

– SWB RailRiders Baseball – The Place to Be! –

SWB Game Notes 9-1-15

CLICK HERE for the Sept. 1 edition of the RailRiders’ game notes. CLICK HERE to listen to the radio call live with John Sadak and Darren Headrick. Pregame coverage starts at 6:35 p.m.

ABOUT LAST NIGHT: Nemesis no more. The SWB RailRiders bested the team that had their number most of the season, the Buffalo Bisons (Toronto Blue Jays), by a 6-4 score on Monday night. The RailRiders lowered their magic number to three with second-place Rochester while taking the rubber match and series from the Bisons (67-70). The RailRiders had lost three straight series against the Bisons, going 2-7 in that time.

MVG: Earlier today, Ben Gamel was named both an IL postseason All-Star and its Rookie of the Year. The 23-year-old co-leads MiLB with 14 triples and ranks among the IL’s top three in batting average (3rd, .304), hits (3rd, 146), slugging percentage (2nd, .476), extra-base hits (3rd, 49), runs scored (3rd, 74) and total bases (2nd, 229). He leads the loop in outfield assists (13). The Neptune Beach, Fla. native gave his team the lead for good last night with a two-run homer in the seventh, his 10th of the year. He entered 2015 with 10 career home runs over five seasons and 1,634 at-bats. He also singled for his team-best 50th multi-hit game. The usual leadoff man paces the club with 61 RBIs. Gamel is SWB’s first IL Rookie of the Year since Austin Jackson in 2009.

AUGUST & EVERYTHING AFTER: The RailRiders recorded their third straight 17-win month with the IL’s fourth-best August record (17-12). Only Indianapolis (2.57) had a better August ERA than SWB (2.67) while only two teams boasted better batting averages than SWB’s .263 mark: Gwinnett (.282) and Columbus. Individually, RailRiders ranked among the IL’s August best in: batting average (Gamel, 5th, ..357), XBH (Gamel, 1st, 16), HR (Judge, T-2nd, 6), RBI (Judge, T-10th, 17), SLG (Gamel, 3rd, .589), OPS (Gamel, 3rd, .984).

IT’S MAGIC TIME: Tonight and tomorrow mark the RailRiders’ final regular-season games against Rochester with a magic number of three. Any combination of SWB wins and Rochester losses totaling three would cement a higher finish for the RailRiders and the team’s first playoff spot/IL North crown since 2012. To do so before returning home, the RailRiders need to sweep this short two-game set.

HOUSE OF HORRORS: The RailRiders lead the season series with Rochester, 10-8, but they have lost 14 of their last 19 games at Frontier Field going back to 2013. The series win at Rochester from June 16-18 marked the first for SWB since the first-ever RailRiders took three of four from April 15-18, 2013.

HEARING THE CALL: Eight RailRiders have been summoned to the New York Yankees with today’s expansion of MLB rosters. The list includes: INF/OF Dustin Ackley, RHP Andrew Bailey, RHP Caleb Cotham, OF Rico Noel, LHP James Pazos, INF/OF Jose Pirela, INF Rob Refsnyder, C Austin Romine. The wave of moves also saw UTIL Cole Figueroa and former RailRider, then at Double-A Trenton, OF Tyler Austin designated for assignment.

THE (KINDA) NEW GUYS: The Yankees have sent eight players to SWB from lower levels. Five in the group, INF Ali Castillo, INF Cito Culver, RHP Mark Montgomery, INF Rob Segedin and LHP Cesar Vargas, have seen time with SWB this season. The new faces include OF Jake Cave, C Kyle Higashioka and RHP Conor Mullee. Higashioka was on the RailRiders’ Opening Day roster, but never saw game action.

MAKING HISTORY?: Depending upon who fills in the holes left by the mass of September call-ups, the 2015 RailRiders could challenge the IL’s revolving-door records. Entering today, 71 different players saw time in a game for SWB including 24 different starting pitchers. The 2012 Norfolk Tides set the gold standard with 75 different players used and tied the mark for most starting pitchers with 25. The Buffalo Bisons employed 25 different starting pitchers to set and tie the record in 2002 and 2004.

Gamel Named All-Star, Rookie of the Year

SWB’s First ROY Since Austin Jackson

Moosic, Pa. – A breakout year has been rewarded. SWB RailRiders (Triple-A/New York Yankees) outfielder Ben Gamel has been named both an International League postseason All-Star and its Rookie of the Year.

Gamel, 23, co-leads minor league baseball with 14 triples and ranks among the IL’s top three in batting average (3rd, .304), hits (3rd, 146), slugging percentage (2nd, .476), extra-base hits (3rd, 49), runs scored (3rd, 74) and total bases (2nd, 229). He leads the loop in outfield assists (13).

The Neptune Beach, Fla. native gave his team the lead for good last night with a two-run homer in the seventh, his 10th of the year. He entered 2015 with 10 career home runs over five seasons and 1,634 at-bats. He also singled for his team-best 50th multi-hit game. The usual leadoff man paces the club with 61 RBIs.

Gamel is SWB’s first IL Rookie of the Year since Austin Jackson in 2009.

Buffalo’s Matt Hague was named Most Valuable Player, Charlotte’s Erik Johnson took Most Valuable Pitcher honors and Norfolk’s Ron Johnson was named Manager of the Year.

Ten of the circuit’s 14 clubs received postseason All-Star nods.

2015 INTERNATIONAL LEAGUE POSTSEASON ALL-STAR TEAM

Catcher: Elias Diaz, Indianapolis Indians

First Baseman: Reynaldo Rodriguez, Rochester Red Wings

Second Baseman: James Beresford, Rochester Red Wings

Shortstop: Dixon Machado, Toledo Mud Hens

Third Baseman: Matt Hague, Buffalo Bisons

Outfielders: Ben Gamel, SWB RailRiders; Dariel Alvarez, Norfolk Tides, Brian Bogusevic; Lehigh Valley IronPigs

Designated Hitter: Jesus Aguilar, Columbus Clippers

Utility Player: Taylor Motter, Durham Bulls

Starting Pitcher: Erik Johnson, Charlotte Knights

Relief Pitcher: Oliver Drake, Norfolk Tides

The RailRiders will host “Mariano Rivera Day” on Thursday, Sept. 3 against the Bisons with an appearance by the Yankees’ legendary closer himself. For more information please call (570) 969-BALL (2255) or visit swbrailriders.com.

– SWB RailRiders Baseball – The Place to Be! –

SWB Claims Series at Buffalo

Comeback Victory in Rubber Match Lowers Magic Number to Three 

Buffalo, N.Y. – Nemesis no more. The SWB RailRiders (Triple-A/New York Yankees) bested the team that had their number most of the season, the Buffalo Bisons (Toronto Blue Jays), by a 6-4 score on Monday night. The RailRiders (77-60) lowered their magic number to three with second-place Rochester while taking the rubber match and series from the Bisons (67-70). The RailRiders had lost three straight series against the Bisons, going 2-7 in that time.

Dustin Ackley put the RailRiders on the board in the first inning with a home run to right, his second through five games on his rehab assignment. Rob Refsnyder’s RBI double in the third made it 2-0, but Buffalo would rebound.

Danny Dorn drove in a third-inning run with a sac fly, Jonathan Diaz singled home another in the fourth and Ryan Schimpf’s ground-rule double in the sixth hammered home a pair for a 4-2 Buffalo lead.

That would change in the seventh when all nine RailRiders came to the plate and four scored. Gregorio Petit doubled in a run before Ben Gamel blasted his 10th home run, a two-run shot, to give SWB the lead for good at 5-4. Aaron Judge later salted the advantage with an RBI double inside of third base.

SWB starter Brady Lail (3-2) was aided by three double plays as he worked around nine hits and two walks over six innings. He allowed four runs (three earned) and struck out four. Buffalo’s Scott Copeland (11-5), who entered the game with the IL’s second-best ERA, allowed six runs on a season-worst 11 hits over 6.1 innings to shoulder the loss. Nick Rumbelow fired a perfect ninth for his team-best eighth save.

The RailRiders’ road trip shifts to Frontier Field for a two-game set against the Rochester Red Wings (Minnesota Twins). It gets underway at 7:05 p.m. on Tuesday night with SWB wins leader Kyle Davies (9-8, 3.52) facing fellow right-hander Michael Bowden (10-4, 2.68).

The RailRiders will host “Mariano Rivera Day” on Thursday, Sept. 3 against the Bisons with an appearance by the Yankees’ legendary closer himself. For more information please call (570) 969-BALL (2255) or visit swbrailriders.com.

– SWB RailRiders Baseball – The Place to Be! –

SWB Game Notes 8-31-15

CLICK HERE for the Aug. 31 edition of the RailRiders’ game notes. CLICK HERE to listen to the radio call live with John Sadak and Darren Headrick. Pregame coverage starts at 6:35 p.m.

ELIMINATION DAY: Clutch two-out hits generated the offense and three hurlers handled the rest as the SWB RailRiders shut out the Buffalo Bisons on Sunday afternoon, 2-0. The RailRiders lowered their magic number to four with second-place Rochester and eliminated the third-place Bisons from postseason contention.

POTENT PITCHING: SWB starter Chris Capuano quelled a variety of two-out threats to toss 3.2 scoreless innings. Johnny Barbato (3-0) piggybacked behind him with 3.1 perfect innings and did not allow a Bison to leave the infield. Nick Goody worked around a leadoff infield hit in the ninth to record his third save.

PITCHING POINTS: Capuano has allowed just four runs in his five Triple-A starts and 22.1 IP (1.61 ERA). He has struck out 21 while walking six. Barbato and Goody combined to allow just one baserunner over the game’s last 5.1 innings. Barbato has allowed one run at Triple-A in 22.2 IP (0.40 ERA) while whiffing 22. The IL has just 12 hits in that time for a .162 batting average against. Goody has held the loop to a .197 average (13H in 18.2 IP) while striking out 22 (10.6K/9IP).

BACK ON TRACK: The IL’s best road team (39-27) in 2015 snapped its first six-game road losing streak since the vagabond 2012 SWB Yankees lost six true road games from June 18-23 at the start of the Louisville/Indianapolis journey. The team has never lost seven straight road games as the top affiliate of the Yankees.

FOUR MORE: The RailRiders have two games left against second-place Rochester starting tomorrow night and a magic number of four. Any combination of SWB wins and Rochester losses totaling four would cement a higher finish for the RailRiders and the team’s first playoff spot/IL North crown since 2012.

NEMESIS: After claiming the teams’ first three meetings of 2015, the RailRiders have lost eight of 11 against the Bisons. SWB has a winning record against every other IL North team. The RailRiders have outscored the Bisons 47-39, outhit them .253-.230 and outpitched them in ERA 2.52-3.29. Seven of the RailRiders’ eight losses in the season series have come by two runs or less including three one-run games (mean average difference of 1.88/loss). Four of the RailRiders’ six wins have come by four or more runs (mean average difference of 3.83/win).

TURN THE BEAT AROUND: Rob Refsnyder went 2-for-4 with a double and an RBI. He entered the game at .268, his lowest average since and 0-for-3 effort versus Indianapolis on May 7 had him at .267. He entered yesterday in a 9-for-52 slide over his prior 12 games, slashing .173/.200/.212/.412. He has posted two hits, a double and an RBI in two of his last three games. Kyle Roller delivered the team’s only other extra-base hit to continue his turnaround. The IL All-Star has slashed .366/.409/.634/1.043 by going 15-for-41 over his last 13 games with six extra-base hits and five RBIs. He entered this run in a 5-for-56 funk slashing .089/.235/.179/.414 with 24K (43% of his at-bats). He has his average up to .232, the best it has been since July 20.

HOT HITTERS: Over his last 10 games, IL All-Star Austin Romine has hit .353/.389/.382/.771 by going 12-for-34 with eight RBIs. Since the All-Star break, Jose Pirela has hit .351/.420/.435/.856. His average and OBP in that time rank first and second respectively in the IL. At .330 and .394, his overall average and OBP would each rank second in the IL with enough plate appearances (2.7/team game).

THE DACK ATTACK: Dustin Ackley went 1-for-3 with an RBI and was grazed by a full-count pitch. In four rehab games with SWB he has gone 5-for-13 (.385) with a double, a homer and three RBIs.

DONUT DITTIES: Buffalo suffered its 19th shutout loss while SWB recorded its ninth shutout win and second in four days. Buffalo stands tied with Pawtucket for the most shutout losses in the league this season. Hours after the Bisons were blanked by the RailRiders, the PawSox suffered the same fate at the hands of the Rochester Red Wings, 7-0.

RailRiders Eliminate Bisons

Shutout Win Drops Magic Number to Four

Buffalo, N.Y. – Clutch two-out hits generated the offense and three hurlers handled the rest as the SWB RailRiders (Triple-A/New York Yankees) shut out the Buffalo Bisons (Toronto Blue Jays) on Sunday afternoon, 2-0. The RailRiders (76-60) lowered their magic number to four with second-place Rochester while they eliminated the third-place Bisons (67-69) from postseason contention.

Rob Refsnyder and the rehabbing Dustin Ackley connected on two-out run-scoring contact in the third and fifth respectively for the game’s only runs. Refsnyder singled Gregorio Petit home while Ackley did the same for Cole Figueroa against starter Chad Jenkins.

SWB starter Chris Capuano quelled a variety of two-out threats to toss 3.2 scoreless innings. Johnny Barbato (3-0) piggybacked behind him with 3.1 perfect innings and did not allow a Bison to leave the infield. Nick Goody worked around a leadoff infield hit in the ninth to record his third save.

Jenkins (8-5) gave up two runs on eight hits over 4.2 innings to take the loss.

The series concludes at 7:05 p.m. on Monday. SWB hands the ball to right-hander Brady Lail (2-2, 3.54) against right-hander Scott Copeland (11-4, 2.46). Copeland entered Sunday with the IL’s second-best ERA and tied for the circuit’s second-highest win total.

The RailRiders will host “Mariano Rivera Day” on Thursday, Sept. 3 against the Bisons with an appearance by the Yankees’ legendary closer himself. For more information please call (570) 969-BALL (2255) or visit swbrailriders.com.

OFF THE RAILS:

Johnny Barbato and Nick Goody combined to allow just one baserunner over the game’s last 5.1 innings. Barbato has allowed one run in 22.2 innings while whiffing 22. The IL has just 12 hits in that time for a .162 batting average against.

Rob Refsnyder went 2-for-4 with a double and an RBI.

Kyle Roller delivered the team’s only other extra-base hit with a fourth-inning double.

Dustin Ackley went 1-for-3 with an RBI and was grazed by a full-count pitch. In four rehab games with SWB he has gone 5-for-13 (.385) with a double, a homer and three RBIs.

The win snapped a six-game road losing streak for SWB. The franchise has never lost seven consecutive road games as the Yankees’ top minor league club.

Buffalo suffered its league-worst 19th shutout loss while SWB recorded its ninth shutout win and second in four days.

– SWB RailRiders Baseball – The Place to Be! –

SWB Game Notes 8-30-15

CLICK HERE for the Aug. 30 edition of the RailRiders’ game notes. CLICK HERE to listen to the radio call live with John Sadak and Darren Headrick. Pregame coverage starts at 12:35 p.m.

ABOUT LAST NIGHT: Veteran lefty Jeff Francis (6-3) tossed eight dominant innings and IL MVP candidate Matt Hague hit a towering tie-breaking home run as the SWB RailRiders fell to the Buffalo Bisons on Saturday night, 3-1.

THAT WAS EASY: At 1:49, last night made for the fastest nine-inning SWB game in its time as the Yankees’ top affiliate (2007-Present). The franchise record of 1:38 was set by the Red Barons on a chilly Thursday in Ottawa on April 4, 2002 when a then-21-year-old Brett Myers lost an eight-inning complete game. The Opening Day hurler allowed one unearned run on three hits. An eighth-inning error by Chase Utley led to the lone score in a 1-0 game that sported a game-time temperature of 34 degrees. The Ottawa manager that game was Tim Leiper, now the first-base coach for Buffalo’s parent club, the Blue Jays. The winning run was scored by Randy Knorr, a former Blue Jay who managed Syracuse in 2011 and is the current bench coach for the Washington Nationals.

DID YOU KNOW?: The quick-moving 2002 loss was part of an eight-year slide in Opening Day games for the franchise. MiLB’s then-longest active drought of that ilk died on April 3, 2008 when the SWB Yankees bested the Phillies’ new Triple-A club, the Lehigh Valley IronPigs, in the first-ever game for the ‘Pigs.

ROAD WOES: The IL’s best road team (38-27) has lost six straight road games for the first time since the vagabond 2012 SWB Yankees lost six true road games from June 18-23 at the start of the Louisville/Indianapolis journey. The team has never lost seven straight road games as the top affiliate of the Yankees.

UP & DOWN: A night after SWB’s 17 hits fell one shy of its season-high mark, it posted a season-worst two. The RailRiders had not been held to a hit total that slim since four Knights combined on a two-hit shutout July 19, 2014 at Charlotte.

THEY’VE GOT THE MAGIC IN THEM: The RailRiders have two games left against second-place Rochester and four versus third-place Buffalo. SWB has magic numbers of five and two with each club. Any combination of SWB wins and losses by each foe totaling to those figures would cement a higher finish for the RailRiders. SWB leads Rochester by 5.0 games with nine to play.

NEMESIS: After claiming the teams’ first three meetings of 2015, the RailRiders have lost eight of 10 against the Bisons. SWB has a winning record against every other IL North team and does not have a record more than two games below .500 against any other IL squad. The RailRiders have outscored the Bisons 45-39, outhit them .255-.234 and outpitched them in ERA 2.72-3.39. Seven of the RailRiders’ eight losses in the season series have come by two runs or less including three one-run games (mean average difference of 1.88/loss). Four of the RailRiders’ five wins have come by four or more runs (mean average difference of 4.2/win).

ON A ROLL AGAIN: Kyle Roller‘s resurgence continued. He went 1-for-3 as the DH. The IL All-Star has slashed .378/.425/.649/1.074 by going 14-for-37 over his last 12 games with six extra-base hits and five RBIs. He entered this run in a 5-for-56 funk slashing .089/.235/.179/.414 with 24K (43% of his at-bats). He has his average up to .232, the best it has been since July 20.

WHO’S HOT: Slade Heathcott singled in Friday’s win. He has hit safely in seven straight and nine of 10, going 12-for-38 (.316/.333/.368/.702) in the longer stretch. He has hit .308/.366/.367/.733 at PNC Field versus .198/.232/.274/.506 on the road. Over his last nine games, IL All-Star Austin Romine has hit .400/.438/.433/.871 by going 12-for-30 with eight RBIs. Since the All-Star break, Jose Pirela has hit .353/.424/.440/.864. His average and OBP in that time rank first and second respectively in the IL. At .332 and .396, his overall average and OBP would each rank second in the IL if he had enough plate appearances (2.7/team game).

THE DACK ATTACK: Dustin Ackley went 1-for-2 with his first MiLB homer since June 6, 2013 while with Triple-A Tacoma versus Las Vegas. In three games with SWB, the MLB rehabber has gone 4-for-10, 2B, HR, 2RBI, 3R.

OFF THE RAILS: SWB went a collective 2-for-29 (.069) with no walks and six strikeouts…Caleb Cotham had allowed just one homer in the minors this year before Hague’s blow…It came in an April 28 loss at New Hampshire, the Blue Jays’ Double-A affiliate…That was also a tie-breaking blast, a seventh-inning shot by former SWB/New York Yankee Melky Mesa…Jeff Francis had lost three straight starts entering Saturday with a 7.71 ERA and .356 batting average against over that time…He improved to 2-0 in two starts against SWB with one run allowed in 15IP (0.60 ERA)…SWB has hit .125 against Francis.

Francis Tames RailRiders

Veteran Southpaw Baffles IL’s Best Offense

Buffalo, N.Y. – Veteran lefty Jeff Francis (6-3) tossed eight dominant innings and IL MVP candidate Matt Hague hit a towering tie-breaking home run as the SWB RailRiders (Triple-A/New York Yankees) fell to the Buffalo Bisons (Toronto Blue Jays) on Saturday night, 3-1.

Home runs made for all of the game’s scores. Dalton Pompey hammered Eric Wooten’s first pitch to him in the third inning for a two-out solo shot to left and a 1-0 Buffalo advantage. An inning later, big league rehabber Dustin Ackley added his own two-out thunder with an pulled blast to right off of Francis for a 1-1 draw.

That would all change in the sixth. Reliever Caleb Cotham (2-2) jumped ahead of Jon Berti 0-2 before losing him to a walk. On Cotham’s next pitch, Hague mashed an impressive homer to left, his 11th of the year, for the 3-1 score.

That lead held up in large part due to Francis. He allowed just two clean base runners and retired the final 13 he faced.

He was lifted after eight innings and 80 pitches (55 strikes) in favor of Ryan Tepera. Catcher Juan Graterol reached on an Andy Burns fielding error in the ninth, but Tepera rebounded by inducing a fly to foul left from Ben Gamel and a groundout to second by Rob Refsnyder for his third save. Gamel’s out saw Pompey slam into the wall while making the grab.

The series continues at 1:05 p.m. on Sunday afternoon. SWB looks to southpaw Chris Capuano (1-1, 1.93) against right-hander Chad Jenkins (8-4, 2.93).

The RailRiders will host “Mariano Rivera Day” on Thursday, Sept. 3 against the Bisons with an appearance by the Yankees’ legendary closer himself. For more information please call (570) 969-BALL (2255) or visit swbrailriders.com.

OFF THE RAILS:

The RailRiders’ fastest nine-inning game of the season lasted just 1:49.

SWB went a collective 2-for-29 (.069) with no walks and six strikeouts.

Eric Wooten allowed one run over five innings. He gave up five hits, no walks and struck out four on 56 pitches (39 strikes).

Andrew Bailey struck out one in a perfect eighth inning. In nine outings and 12.1 innings with SWB he has struck out 13 and walked three.

Caleb Cotham had allowed just one home run in the minors this season before Hague’s game-winning blow. It came on April 28 in a loss at New Hampshire, the Blue Jays’ Double-A affiliate. That was also a tie-breaking blast, a seventh-inning shot by former SWB and New York Yankee Melky Mesa. Cotham’s Trenton club would lose the game, 7-5.

Mesa hit a walk-off homer against the RailRiders on July 10 at Buffalo. He also connected on a two-out, two-run walk-off homer in SWB’s most recent playoff win, the Game 3 triumph over Pawtucket on Sept. 7, 2012.

Jeff Francis had lost three straight starts entering Saturday night with a 7.71 ERA and .356 batting average against over that time. He improved to 2-0 in two starts against SWB with one run allowed in 15 innings (0.60 ERA). The RailRiders have hit just .125 against Francis.

– SWB RailRiders Baseball – The Place to Be! –

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