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RailRiders Rally to Tie in the Ninth but Fall in Extras

Moosic, Pa. – The Pawtucket Red Sox (Triple-A/Boston) gave up a three-run lead, but they rallied with a run in the 10th inning to defeat the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders (New York Yankees) on Saturday night, 5-4. Derek Jeter rehabbed for a third straight night for the RailRiders, and he went 1-3 in seven innings.

Jeter grounded out to second base in his first at-bat in the first inning, as he batted second and played shortstop for SWB. He bounced to shortstop Brock Holt in the fourth, but slammed a single through the right side in the sixth. He went first to third on a base hit by Dan Johnson, and was lifted after seven innings of play.

Pawtucket took the lead early on with a run in the third. Tony Thomas led off with a double to right field, and then scored on an error by Brent Lillibridge. Justin Henry hit a grounder to the RailRider second baseman, but Lillibridge’s throw went wide of the bag and Thomas scored on the play.

A run scoring single by Jackie Bradley Jr. in the seventh advanced the lead to 2-0, and the PawSox stretched the advantage to 3-0 with another in the eighth. The bases were loaded after a double by Mark Hamilton, a single by Jeremy Hazelbaker, and a walk to Tony Thomas. Justin Henry then walked to force home Hamilton.

Addison Maruszak, who entered for Jeter after the seventh, got the RailRiders on the board in the eighth. With Neil Medchill and Lillibridge aboard at second and third, Maruszak roped a single to right field to plate both runners and cut the lead to one run.

After the PawSox added a run on a Ryan Lavarnway single in the top of the ninth, the RailRiders tied the game with two runs in the bottom of the ninth. Randy Ruiz led off the frame with a base hit, and Ronnier Mustelier followed with a single that extended his hitting streak to 12 games. A groundball moved to Mustelier to second and that setup a two-run single up the middle by Medchill that tied the game at four.

The game went to extras, but the PawSox untied it with a run in the 10th. Henry hit a one-out single, and was trying to advance to third on a base hit by Heiker Meneses when the throw from Mustelier hit him. The ball rolled to the fence in foul ground at third, and Henry was able to score to put the PawSox in front for good.

Anthony Carter (2-0) blew just his third save of the season, but he picked up the win. Starter Clayton Mortensen tossed seven shutout innings in the no-decision.

Yoshinori Tateyama (2-2) allowed two runs, one of them earned, over two innings of work in the loss. Starter Chris Bootcheck produced a strong outing; he went six and two-thirds, and allowed just two runs (one earned) on three hits.

The RailRiders and Red Sox will continue their series, but it will shift to McCoy Stadium in Pawtucket, R.I. First pitch on Sunday evening is scheduled for 6:05 p.m. Chase Whitley (3-2, 3.12) will get the start for Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, and he’ll be opposed by prospect Anthony Ranaudo (2-1, 1.93). Pre-game coverage will get underway at 5:35 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! -

Porcupine Points – August 24

8-24-13 Game Notes

EL CAPITÁN: Derek Jeter walked and scored while looking much smoother defensively. His presence led to a capacity crowd of 10,000 fans and the RailRiders delivered for their throng under the mountain with a 4-1 defeat of the PawSox. The Yankees captain has now gone 3-for-15 (.200) with five walks (.400 OBP) in six games as a RailRider. He finished last night 0-for-3 with a walk, a strikeout and a groundball double play. He alertly darted home for a run on a Brock Huntzinger wild pitch in the seventh inning.

HIGHLIGHT MOMENTS: J.R. Murphy drove in two, but pitching stole the show. Caleb Cotham tossed 6.1 shutout innings to run his record to 6-5. Since the All-Star break, he is 4-0 with a 1.83 ERA.

BULLISH ‘PEN: Behind Cotham, Dellin Betances and Jim Miller brought SWB one out short of its league-best 13th shutout. Both men have dominated since rough beginnings to the year. Betances had a 6.00 ERA as a starter, but has owned the IL since moving to the bullpen in early May. In that role, he is 4-2 with four saves in as many tries and a 1.46 ERA. He has struck out 75 men in 55.1 innings (12.2/9 IP) while holding the league to a .165 average as a reliever. Last night he was charged with an IL run for the first time since June 16 at Lehigh Valley. Miller, who had an ERA over 40 following two tough appearances against Pawtucket to begin the year, has dominated since (2.02 ERA, .206 BAA). Last night, he earned his team-leading sixth save. He ranks third among IL relievers with 13.2K/9 IP and has held lefties to a .153 average with 49 strikeouts in 98 at-bats. Lefties hit .136 against him in the big leagues last season with Oakland.

THE FIX IS IN: The RailRiders posted their fourth full capacity crowd of 10,000 and their 23rd fixed-seat sellout of the season last night. Six of the fixed-seat sellouts have come with Jeter in the lineup for a cumulative paid crowd of 57,265 (9,544/game). PNC Field has 7,115 fixed seats. When factoring in the NEPA Honda Homer Zone (lawn seats) and standing-room maximums, capacity for the first-year facility is 10,000. Thursday night’s crowd brought the franchise’s season-long attendance figure over 400,000 for the first time since 2008.

A TRUE MUSTY: Ronnier Mustelier, SWB’s lone entrant into MiLB’s annual Moniker Madness contest for the best name in minor league baseball, has also been the team’s best bat of late. Last night he went 2-for-4 with a double and a run scored. He has hit safely in 11 straight games and has multiple knocks in each of his last six. Over his longer string of success, he has hit .475 (19-for-40) with five doubles, five RBIs and six walks (.543 OBP). That makes for Triple-A’s top OBP and second-best average in that time (Alex Presley, Indianapolis, .500). During his streak, his average has soared by 34 points (.233-.267) and his on-base percentage has shot up 41 points (.273-.314).

STANDINGS SNAPSHOT: Thanks to some out-of-town help, last night’s win kept the RailRiders’ elimination number in both the division and wild-card chase at three. Rochester blew a 6-1 ninth-inning lead as Lucas May hit a game-tying grand slam and Travis Snider’s sac fly plated Presley as the go-ahead tally in a 7-6 Indianapolis win. The Red Wings have lost three in a row while Indy trimmed its magic number to one in the IL West. Last night also saw Syracuse crush Charlotte, 8-1, to stay even with the RailRiders in the IL North’s cellar. The RailRiders have not sat in sixth by their lonesome since starting the year 1-5. Pawtucket has won five of six and 11 of 13 to own first in the North by a half-game.

OFF THE RAILS: The RailRiders, who lead the IL with 122 home runs, have not homered in a season-high five straight games…Jeremy Hazelbaker continued his season-long success against SWB pitching…He went 2-for-4 with a double and a run scored…He has hit .381 (16-for-42)/.409/.690/1.100 with six extra-base hits and nine RBIs in 10 games against the RailRiders…He has hit .252 against every other IL team…Last night’s game needed just 2:31 from first pitch to final out…The only shorter meeting between these two clubs this season – the July 1 contest at McCoy won by Pawtucket, 1-0…Steven Wright tossed a complete game that day…That game, which went 2:27, included a 22-minute rain delay at the start…David Huff was the tough-luck loser that day thanks to an unearned run.

Cotham’s Second-Half Surge Continues in SWB Win

Moosic, Pa.Derek Jeter rehabbed with the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders (Triple-A/New York Yankees) for a second straight night, but it was Caleb Cotham who stole the show in a 4-1 win over the Pawtucket Red Sox (Boston Red Sox) Jeter went 0-3 with a run scored, but Cotham pitched into the seventh inning to earn his seventh win of the season.

Jeter and the RailRiders faced a knuckleballer for the second consecutive night. Charlie Haeger struck out Jeter in the first inning, and the Yankee captain grounded into a double play in the bottom of the third inning. He drew a walk in the fifth, but was stranded at second base. In his final at-bat, he reached on a fielder’s choice. Jeter later scored from third base on a wild pitch.

Cotham (6-5) tossed six and one-third shutout innings. He scattered seven hits, and issued just one walk. Cotham added four strikeouts, and induced three groundball outs to just three fly outs. Since the All-Star break, Cotham is 4-0 with a 1.83 earned run average.

Scranton/Wilkes-Barre got all the offense it would need in the second inning. Randy Ruiz led off with a base hit, and moved to third when Ronnier Mustelier extended his hitting streak to 11 games with a double. J.R. Murphy plated both runs with a single to left-center field. SWB led 2-0 after two innings.

Another run came across in the sixth inning. Adonis Garcia led off with a double to left field, and moved to third on a passed ball. He scored when Corey Patterson singled through the right side. The final run came across in the bottom of the seventh. Jeter reached on a fielder’s choice, and would later score on a wild pitch. While the ball did not venture far from home plate, Jeter slid in ahead of the tag of Ryan Lavarnway.

The PawSox scored their lone run in the top of the ninth inning. Justin Henry singled home Jeremy Hazelbaker, but Jim Miller recorded the save and gave the game its final margin of 4-1. It was Miller’s sixth save of the season.

Haeger (4-4) allowed three runs on seven hits in six frames, but picked up the loss for the PawSox.

Jeter confirmed postgame that he will be in the RailRider lineup on Saturday night. First pitch at PNC Field is set for 7:05 p.m., and gates will open at 5:45 p.m. Chris Bootcheck (9-7, 3.84) will ascend the mound and go for his 10th win of the season. He’ll be opposed by Clayton Mortensen (3-0, 2.95). It will also be Back to School Night and Celebrate Reading Night at PNC Field, and the first 1,500 kids 12 and under will receive a RailRiders metal lunchbox courtesy of ShurSave and Pepsi.

- SWB RailRiders – All Aboard! -

Jeter Records Two Hits in SWB Loss

Moosic, Pa. – A packed house of 9,185 at PNC Field saw Derek Jeter record two hits, including a double and run batted in. Despite having Jeter in the lineup, the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders (Triple-A/New York Yankees) fell on Thursday night to the Pawtucket Red Sox (Boston), 5-2. It was Jeter’s first rehab game on his second stint with SWB.

Jeter batted second and started at shortstop, and ripped a double on the first pitch from Steven Wright. The ball was blasted into the left-center field gap, and Jeter later scored on a double by Dan Johnson. He would reach on a fielder’s choice in the third inning, but knocked in a run in the fifth. He sent a single up the middle, as second baseman Brock Holt made a diving stop in shallow center, but Bobby Wilson kept running to score from second base and give Jeter his RBI. The Yankee captain was lifted after five innings of play, as scheduled.

Pawtucket overcame the 1-0 deficit with two runs in the top of the third. Jeremy Hazelbaker led off with a single, and then stole second base. The throw from Wilson trying to get Hazelbaker got away, and he moved up to third. Jackie Bradley Jr. drove him home with a sacrifice fly to center field. Holt then homered, as the ball snuck over the right-center field fence.

The PawSox furthered their lead with three runs in the fourth. Mark Hamilton started the rally with a single, and moved to second on Tony Thomas’ infield single. Jonathan Diaz plated Hamilton with a base hit of his own. SWB starter Graham Stoneburner then struck out Hazelbaker for the second out of the inning, but with runners at second and third, an error by Jeter on a groundball by Heiker Meneses allowed both runs to score. It extended the Pawtucket lead to 5-1.

Jeter’s RBI cut the lead to 5-2 in the bottom of the fifth. With one out, Wilson was hit by Wright on the left arm. He moved to second on a passed ball, and then scored when Jeter knocked a single up the middle. Holt made a full-extension dive to get to the ball in shallow center, but he failed to check Wilson who scampered home from second base. That was as close as the RailRiders would cut it, and they fell, 5-2.

Wright (7-7) shutout the RailRiders the last time the two teams met and he received the win. He allowed two runs, one earned, on just four hits in six innings.

Stoneburner (3-5) was the hard-luck loser, as he allowed five runs (three earned) in three and two-thirds innings. Cesar Cabral, Sam Demel, and Matt Daley combined to throw five and one-third innings of shutout relief.

The RailRiders will look for their first win of the series as SWB and the PawSox will meet in game three of their four-game set on Friday night at PNC Field. First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. on a Fireworks Friday presented by Jack Williams & Kumho Tires. Chris Bootcheck (9-7, 3.84) will take the mound for the RailRiders, and will be opposed by knuckleballer, Charlie Haeger (4-3, 4.89). Ticket information for Thursday, or any other remaining game at PNC Field can be found by calling (570) 969-BALL, by logging into swbrailriders.com, or by visiting the PNC Field box office.

- SWB RailRiders – All Aboard! -

RailRiders Drop Opener to PawSox

Moosic, Pa. – It was announced before Wednesday night’s game that Derek Jeter would join the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders (Triple-A/New York Yankees) on a rehab assignment on Thursday. Without Jeter, the RailRiders dropped a 6-3 decision to the Pawtucket Red Sox (Boston) on Wednesday. SWB was able to rally and cut the lead to 5-3, but they would get no closer.

Pawtucket opened the game’s scoring with clutch two-out hitting in the second. Mark Hamilton led off the inning with a double, and Drew Sutton later walked. A wild pitch moved them up to second and third, and two outs later, Jeremy Hazelbaker doubled down the left-field line to give the PawSox a 2-0 advantage.

The RailRiders would get on the board with a run in the bottom of the second. Dan Johnson started the frame with a walk, and he would later move to third on a double by Ronnier Mustelier. The extra-base hit extended Mustelier’s hitting streak to 10 games. J.R. Murphy then grounded out to drive home Johnson, and cut the lead in half.

That run was reclaimed in the top of the third. With one out, Brock Holt doubled, moved to second on a base hit by Ryan Lavarnway, and then scored on a sacrifice fly by Hamilton.

The PawSox would stretch their lead to 5-1 with two more runs in the fifth. Jackie Bradley Jr. led off with a single to right-center field, and moved up to second on a base hit by Holt. Lavarnway loaded the bases with a single of his own, and Hamilton then grounded into a fielder’s choice to drive home Bradley Jr. The inning was capped when Dan Butler hit a sacrifice fly to score Holt.

The SWB rally started with a run in the bottom of the fifth. Mustelier led off with a hard single to right field. Murphy moved him to second with a base hit, and Mustelier advanced to third on a fly-out by Adonis Garcia. He would score when Alberto Gonzalez hit a sacrifice fly to right field.

The lead was cut to just two in the sixth. With one out, Melky Mesa drew a walk. He proceeded to steal second and third base, before Johnson drew another walk. One out later, Mustelier hit a groundball to short, and Mesa scored as Mustelier reached on the infield single.

The PawSox would add an insurance run in the ninth. With Hazelbaker at second base following his infield single and stolen base, Bradley Jr. hit a bouncer up the middle. David Adams was able to get to the ball, but he threw wide of the bag at first, which allowed Hazelbaker to score. The run gave the game its final margin of 6-3.

Allen Webster (8-4) started the game for Pawtucket and received the win. He allowed three runs on three hits in five and two-thirds innings, and he also struck out seven batters. Anthony Carter converted his 21st save of the season in the ninth.

SWB starter Brett Marshall (7-10) picked up the loss after he allowed five runs over five innings of work. Yoshinori Tateyama pitched two perfect innings out of the bullpen, striking out five of the six batters he faced.

Jeter will join the RailRider lineup on Thursday night, which will be his second stint with the club of the season. First pitch is set for 7:05 p.m. on a Thirsty Thursday presented by Budweiser. Gates will open up at 5:45 p.m., and from 6-8 p.m., Bud Light and Pepsi products will be just one dollar. The NEPA Miners football team will be in the ballpark on Football Night, and the RailRiders will also recognize Back Mountain Community Night. The band Dashboard Mary will entertain fans as they enter the plaza. Ticket information for Thursday, or any other remaining game at PNC Field can be found by calling (570) 969-BALL, by logging into swbrailriders.com, or by visiting the PNC Field box office.

- SWB RailRiders – All Aboard! -

Porcupine Points – August 21

8-21-13 Game Notes

ON THE CHASE: Much of the talk heading into last night’s series finale in Allentown centered around rehabbing big leaguer Jonathan Pettibone. But while Pettibone delivered a quality start, usual SWB reliever Chase Whitley stole the show en route to a 3-1 win for the RailRiders over the IronPigs. Whitley (3-2), who had three career starts entering 2013, started for the third time this campaign and posted a win with his longest career outing. The former Troy University star allowed one unearned run over five frames with no walks and four strikeouts. He also lowered his starting ERA to a sparkling 0.75.

JETERMANIA: With just six home games remaining on their regular season, the impetus to be a part of the historic inaugural season at the new PNC Field has been kicked up a notch. Derek Jeter will begin a minor league rehab assignment with the RailRiders starting Thursday, Aug. 22.

BULLISH ‘PEN: Behind Whitley, Dellin Betances and Jim Miller combined on four innings of one-hit, shutout relief. Both men have dominated since rough beginnings to the year. Betances had a 6.00 ERA as a starter, but has owned the IL since moving to the bullpen in early May. In that role, he is 4-2 with four saves in as many tries and a 1.36 ERA. He has struck out 69 men in 53 innings (11.72/9 IP) while holding the league to a .167 average. Moreoever after averaging 6BB/9 IP as a starter, that number sits at 3.9 in relief. Miller, who had an ERA over 40 following two tough appearances against Pawtucket to begin the year, has dominated since (2.03 ERA, .203 BAA). Last night, he earned his team-leading fifth save. He ranks third among IL relievers with 13.3K/9 IP and has held lefties to a .144 average with 49 strikeouts in 97 at-bats. Lefties hit .136 against him in the big leagues last season with Oakland.

STANDINGS SNAPSHOT: Last night’s SWB win and Rochester’s 5-1 loss to Louisville maintained the RailRiders’ elimination number in the division at five and eight in the wild-card chase. Thanks to Syracuse’s 3-2 defeat of Indianapolis, the RailRiders also remained just 1.5 games out of last place. They have not sat in sixth since starting the year 1-5. Pawtucket’s third straight win and ninth in 10 games, however, lowered the RailRiders’ elimination number in the wild-card chase to seven. SWB is looking up at five teams in that chase (Pawtucket, Norfolk, Buffalo, Lehigh Valley and Columbus).

WHO’S HOT?: Ronnier Mustelier has hit safely in a personal season-high-tying nine straight games, connecting at a .424 (14-for-33) rate with three doubles, four RBIs and five walks (.500 OBP)…That makes for the IL’s top average and second-best OBP in that time (Darin Mastroianni, ROC, .556)…Dan Johnson has a seven-game string of success, hitting .400 (10-for-25) with three extra-base hits, three RBIs and six walks (.516 OBP)…In 16 games since rejoining the team from the big leagues, Melky Mesa has hit .323 (21-for-65)/.357/.585/.942 with nine extra-base hits and 17 RBIs…He has served as SWB’s three-hole hitter in nine straight games (10 total) and is a .329 hitter since the All-Star break after entering it at .245.

WHO’S NOT?: In eight games since returning from the big leagues, Brent Lillibridge has hit .176 (6-for-34) with 11 strikeouts…After connecting at a .333 clip in July, Adonis Garcia has hit just .186 in 16 games this month…Addison Maruszak is hitless since July 9, going 0-for-20 in that time with five strikeouts…Since returning from his third stint this season in the bigs, David Adams has gone 3-for-27 (.111) with eight strikeouts…The slump has lowered his overall contact clip to .277, the lowest it has been since April 17…J.R. Murphy was a .297 stick at the close of July, but has hit .186 (11-for-59) in 15 August affairs…Alberto Gonzalez went 1-for-4 last night to bring his batting average back up to the Mendoza line at .200 even…He is 1-for-17 with five strikeouts since hitting his lone SWB homer off of Jason Berken exactly one week ago…He was a .234 hitter going into the All-Star break, but has hit just .169 since the league’s three-day vacation.

ROSTER MOVES: Earlier today, the Yankees announced several SWB moves. Infielder Brendan Harris has been released, right-hander Preston Claiborne has rejoined the team after serving as the Yankees’ “26th man” yesterday and right-hander Graham Stoneburner has returned from Double-A Trenton.

Jeter to Rehab with RailRiders Again Starting Thursday

Moosic, Pa. – With just six home games remaining on their regular-season, the impetus to be a part of the historic inaugural season at the new PNC Field has been kicked up a notch. Derek Jeter will begin a minor league rehab assignment with the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders (Triple-A/New York Yankees) starting Thursday, Aug. 22 when SWB hosts the defending Governor’s Cup champion Pawtucket Red Sox (Boston).

Jeter is a career .313 hitter in the big leagues with 3,308 hits. The 13-time All-Star and five-time Gold Glove winner had never played for SWB before this season. The lone rehab stints for the sure-fire Hall of Famer over the last decade both came with Double-A Trenton in 2003 and 2011. That changed when Jeter played in four games as a RailRider from July 6-10, going 1-for-9 with four walks. The American League’s Rookie of the Year in 1996 is coming off of an outstanding 2012 in which he hit .316 and led the bigs with 216 hits, one of his eight career campaigns with over 200 knocks.

The Voice of the RailRiders John Sadak and broadcast partner Andrew Kappes will have the call of Thursday’s game on NEPA Sports Radio – The GAME, NEPA’s largest sports radio network: 100.7 FM, 1340 WYCK-AM, 1400 WICK-AM, 1440 WCDL-AM and 106.7 FM. Pregame coverage gets underway at 6:35 p.m. with first pitch at 7:05 p.m.

It will be a Budweiser Thirsty Thursday. Gates will open at 5:45 p.m. and from 6 p.m. until 8 p.m., Pepsi products and Bud Lights will be just one dollar. The NEPA Miners football team will be in the ballpark on Football Night, and the RailRiders will also recognize Back Mountain Community Night. The band Dashboard Mary will entertain fans as they enter the plaza. With no upper deck at PNC Field anymore, every seat in the ballpark provides the supreme views and intimacy that make minor league baseball so special at incredibly affordable prices. For more information, please visit the team’s official website, www.swbrailriders.com, call 570-969-BALL (2255) or come on out to the PNC Field box office which is open from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday through Friday on non-game days.

- SWB RailRiders – All Aboard! -

Whitley Provides Strong Start in SWB Win

Allentown, Pa.Chase Whitley was dominant as he made just his third start of the season, and the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders (Triple-A/New York Yankees) topped the Lehigh Valley IronPigs (Philadelphia Phillies) on Tuesday night, 3-1. Whitley took the victory over his rehabbing Phillie counterpart, Jonathan Pettibone.

Whitley (3-2) went five innings in just the sixth start of his professional career. The only run he allowed scored on a throwing error, and Whitley struck out four without issuing a walk. The five frames accounted for the longest outing of Whitley’s pro tenure. Dellin Betances was dominant as he worked three innings out of the bullpen with four punch outs. Jim Miller was brought in for the ninth and recorded his fifth save.

Pettibone (0-2) made his first Triple-A start since April, but this time on a rehab assignment. Pettibone allowed three runs on 10 hits over six innings in the loss. While he did not walk a batter, Pettibone only struck out one. He is 5-4 with a 4.04 earned run average in 18 big league starts this season.

The IronPigs were the first to strike offensively, and scored their only run in the second. Cesar Hernandez led off the frame with a single to left-center field. Leandro Castro then singled to right field, and Hernandez’s wide turn at second base prompted a throw from right fielder Ronnier Mustelier to third. It overshot the bag, and went into the Lehigh Valley dugout. That allowed Hernandez to score, and Castro to move up to third. Despite the error, Whitley recorded the final three outs without conceding another run.

Scranton/Wilkes-Barre grabbed the lead with two runs in the fifth. J.R. Murphy led off with a double down the left-field line. Mustelier atoned for his error when he followed with a base hit to center field that plated Murphy. Brent Lillibridge then grounded into a force out that allowed him to reach at first, but retired Mustelier at second. Alberto Gonzalez singled to right field which appeared to move Lillibridge to third, but the throw from Castro was mishandled by Tyler Henson, and Lillibridge was able to score on the play.

The RailRiders added an insurance run in the top of the sixth. With one out, Dan Johnson singled to shallow center field. Randy Ruiz then launched a double to left-center field, and Johnson was able to score all the way from first base. It advanced the RailRider lead to 3-1, which was the game’s final margin.

The win cuts Lehigh Valley’s lead in the IronRail series to 7-5. SWB now returns home to PNC Field on Wednesday night as they’ll open up a four-game series with the Pawtucket Red Sox (Boston). Prospect right-hander Brett Marshall (7-9, 5.26) will take the mound against Allen Webster (7-4, 3.84). Fans can help the RailRiders fight hunger, and receive a free ticket to Wednesday night’s game. Fans who bring at least one non-perishable food item will receive a free NEPA Honda Homer Zone ticket. All donations will be made to the Volunteer Action Center (VAC). It’s also a Kids Eat Free Wednesday presented by Minooka Subaru at PNC Field, and all kids 12 and under will receive a voucher for a free hot dog, soda, and bag of chips.

- SWB RailRiders – All Aboard! -

Porcupine Points – August 20

8-20-13 Game Notes

DEADLY DEBUT: Who is Perci Garner? The RailRiders found out last night. Reigning IL Pitcher of the Year Tyler Cloyd got bumped so he could start today’s tilt for the big league Phils against Colorado. In a corresponding move, Garner, a 2010 second-rounder who was struggling as a repeater at High-A Clearwater, got the call. And boy did he deliver. He had been 0-5 in his last six starts for the Threshers with a 6.21 ERA. On Monday night, he changed velocities with ease while filling the zone with strikes en route to a win in his first career outing above the Advanced-A level. Garner allowed just two runs while striking out seven.

DAS BOOT: Garner’s counterpart, IL All-Star Chris Bootcheck (9-7), was once again denied win No. 10. The veteran right-hander battled, but suffered his fifth loss in six starts. After going 4-0, 3.52 in four starts before the All-Star break, Bootcheck has gone 0-5, 4.86 in six nods. The team has averaged just 1.8 runs/game of support for him in that time. His last win was on July 13, a seven-inning complete game at Buffalo.

STANDINGS SNAPSHOT: Last night’s loss lowered the RailRiders’ elimination number in the division to five and eight in the wild-card chase. The RailRiders entered today 9.5 games out in the North Division they won a season ago. It is their largest hole since the a six-game win streak in early July turned a 12.5-game margin into a six-game deficit. Thanks to Syracuse’s 6-2 defeat of Indianapolis, the RailRiders are just 1.5 games out of last place. They have not sat in sixth place since starting the year 1-5.

WHO’S HOT?: Ronnier Mustelier has hit safely in eight straight games, connecting at a .379 (11-for-29) rate with three doubles, three RBIs and five walks (.471 OBP)…Dan Johnson has a five-game string of success, hitting .381 (8-for-21) with three extra-base hits, three RBIs and six walks (.519 OBP)…In 15 games since rejoining the team from the big leagues, Melky Mesa has hit .339 (21-for-62)/.364/.613/.977 with nine extra-base hits and 17 RBIs…He has served as SWB’s three-hole hitter in eight straight games and is a .343 hitter since the All-Star break.

WHO’S NOT?: In eight games since returning from the big leagues, Brent Lillibridge has hit .167 (5-for-30) with 10 strikeouts…After connecting at a .333 clip in July, Adonis Garcia has hit just .186 in 16 games this month…Last night he became the RailRiders’ 17th different DH this season…Addison Maruszak is hitless since July 9, going 0-for-20 in that time with five strikeouts…Since returning from his third stint this season in the bigs, David Adams has gone 2-for-22 (.091) with seven strikeouts…The slump has lowered his overall contact clip to .280, the lowest it has been since April 17…J.R. Murphy was a .297 stick at the close of July, but has hit .164 (9-for-55) in 14 August affairs…Alberto Gonzalez went 0-for-4 with a strikeout last night to dip his batting average below the Mendoza line for the first time since a June single at Durham on June 3 lifted him to .200 even…He is 0-for-13 with five strikeouts since hitting his lone SWB homer off of Jason Berken on Wednesday…He was a .234 hitter going into the All-Star break, but has hit just .165 since the league’s three-day vacation.

IRONRAIL TROPHY: On June 13, the RailRiders and IronPigs announced that they will be playing for the “IronRail Trophy”. The 16-game series between the RailRiders and IronPigs will decide the winner. The losing team’s GM will sing in a fat lady costume on the winner’s field, and a feast will be paid for by the losing team as well. The trophy will be held by the winning team, displayed for all to see. The 2013 series currently favors the ‘Pigs, 6-4. Scranton/Wilkes-Barre owns a 52-38 lead in the all-time series dating back to Lehigh Valley’s inaugural 2008 season. Lehigh Valley has only once won a season series against SWB, and did so by the slimmest of margins when it went 9-7 against NEPA’s team in 2010. The two clubs split the season series in 2012. In the event of 8-8 ties, the club that wins the final regular-season meeting will also claim the IronRail Trophy.

Pigs Survive SWB Rally and Pull Away in Win

Allentown, Pa. – The Lehigh Valley IronPigs (Triple-A/Philadelphia Phillies) survived a sixth-inning surge by the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders (New York Yankees) and went on to claim victory on Monday night, 8-3. The RailRiders cut the deficit to one run in the sixth, but the IronPigs added five runs late to win comfortably.

Lehigh Valley opened the scoring with a run in the first. Pete Orr led off with a hustle double. He moved to third on a fly-out by Freddy Galvis, and then scored a sacrifice fly by Steve Susdorf.

The lead was doubled in the fourth. Speedster Cesar Hernandez hit a two-out single to center field, and then scored when Tyler Henson doubled off the center-field wall to plate Hernandez from first base.

The IronPigs pushed across another run in the fifth inning. With one out, Orr sliced a single to left field. Galvis grounded out to move him up to second, and he scored when Susdorf recorded a base hit to left-center field.

The RailRiders would get back into the ballgame with two runs in the sixth. With two outs, Melky Mesa began the rally with a single. Dan Johnson drew a walk, his second of the game which gives him 86 for the season. With runners at first and second, Ronnier Mustelier singled to left field. Mesa scored on the play, and Johnson moved up to second. The inning was capped when Adonis Garcia slapped a single through the right side to drive home Johnson. The rally cut the lead to 3-2, but the RailRiders would get no closer.

Two runs in the bottom of the sixth took the wind out of the sails of the RailRiders. Cody Overbeck led off with a single, and moved to second when Hernandez reached on a fielder’s choice as he tried to bunt Overbeck over. Henson then sacrificed to move them into scoring position. That drew the infield in, and Cameron Rupp hit a grounder to third that was fielded cleanly by Brent Lillibridge. With two down, it looked as if SWB would escape the jam, but Leandro Castro doubled to right-center field to plate both Overbeck and Hernandez.

The Pigs added to their lead with three runs in the bottom of the eighth, as they provided further run support to Perci Garner, who was making his first career start above the Advanced-A level. Garner was added to Lehigh Valley after Tyler Cloyd was recalled by Philadelphia to start Tuesday in the big leagues. Garner (1-0) allowed just two runs over five and two-thirds innings, and was just one strikeout of his career-high after he fanned seven batters. J.C. Ramirez worked the final two innings to earn his third save of the season.

Chris Bootcheck (9-7) gave his team much needed innings, but he received the loss. Bootcheck tossed six and two-thirds innings, and allowed five runs on nine hits. He struck out four batters, and issued just two walks.

With Monday’s win, the IronPigs now own a 7-4 advantage over SWB in the IronRail series. The two teams will play the finale of a short two-game series at Coca-Cola Park on Tuesday night. Chase Whitley (2-2, 3.42) has been outstanding since being moved into the rotation, and he will get the start for SWB. First pitch on Tuesday night is scheduled for 7:05 p.m., which means pre-game coverage will get underway at 6:35 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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