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Porcupine Points – August 26

8-26-13 Game Notes

A LEAD LOST: With their playoff pulse barely registering, the RailRiders leapt out to a 5-1 lead at McCoy Stadium on Sunday night. But abundant run-scoring chances fell short as they left the bases loaded in the third, fourth and fifth. That opened the door for an opportunistic PawSox team to score five unanswered runs, including a go-ahead homer by Brock Holt at the start of the seventh. Factor in a scoreless ninth from closer Anthony Carter and the night added up to a 6-5 RailRiders’ loss. The RailRiders outhit the PawSox 14-6, but left 15 men on base and went 2-for-14 with runners in scoring position. It marks the RailRiders’ second-largest lead blown in a loss this season, trailing only the five-run advantage squandered at Toledo on May 15.

PLAYOFF PICTURE: With last night’s loss the RailRiders have been officially eliminated from repeating as IL North champs and now face an elimination number of one in the wild-card chase. Their next loss, or Rochester’s next win will cement a postseason-free campaign for just the second time in the era of SWB’s Yankees’ affiliation. Rochester fell to Indianapolis yesterday in 10 innings, 8-5. The Red Wings have lost five straight, but still lead the wild-card field by a half-game. Last night also saw Syracuse drop a 3-1 decision to Charlotte 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. SWB has not finished in last since 1998. Pawtucket has won seven of eight and 13 of 15 to own the North by 2.5 games.

HELLO MR. WILSON!: Bobby Wilson’s impactful swings continued last night. Despite playing for just the second time in nine days and the sixth time since July 30, Wilson posted a pair of hits including a go-ahead two-run homer in the second inning. He finished with three RBIs in total thanks to a bases-loaded walk in the third. Wilson has hit .215 and boasts just 43 hits in 62 games played, but has hit seven homers and owns 37 RBIs. He has a nearly even walk (32) to strikeout (35) ratio this season and is the only one of the RailRiders four different catchers to post a winning record. The team is 29-28 with the current back-up, Wilson, as the starter, but has losing marks when Jeff Farnham (6-8), J.R. Murphy (24-28) or Austin Romine (5-8) have gotten the nod behind the dish.

BEST WEEK EVER: 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. And for his efforts from Aug. 15-21, he was named the IL’S Batter of the Week today. Last night he went 2-for-4 with a double and a walk. He has hit safely in 13 straight games and has multiple knocks in six of his last seven. Over his longer string of success, the IL’s best active hit streak, he has hit .458 (22-for-48) with six doubles, five RBIs and seven walks (.527 OBP). That makes for Triple-A’s second-best average in that time (Alex Presley, Indianapolis, .500). During his streak, his average has soared by 37 points (.233-.270) and his on-base percentage has shot up 45 points (.273-.318).

DAN THE MAN: Dan Johnson delivered three hits, including his team-leading 26th double and team-best 69th RBI. Johnson also worked his league-leading 92nd walk of the campaign. He has hit .337/.461/.590/1.051 in 24 August games played.

OFF THE RAILS: The RailRiders, who lead the IL with 123 home runs, had not homered in a season-high six straight games before Wilson’s blow last night…SWB has slammed 16 home runs during its six games thus far at McCoy Stadium…Thirteen of the dingers have come in its three wins…Bryce Brentz was activated off Pawtucket’s DL yesterday and played for the first time since July 5…The 2010 first-rounder (36th overall) bashed a two-run homer in his second plate appearance…It made for his first round-tripper since a July 2 loss to SWB when he hit a solo shot off of SWB All-Star Chris Bootcheck…He had surgery to repair a torn meniscus in his knee less than six weeks ago…Ballots for the IL’s year-end All-Star team were due to the league office today…After going 0-for-3 with the bases loaded last night, SWB has hit .174 with the bases full (21-for-121)…No other team has hit less than .238 (Toledo) with the bases juiced.

Mustelier Earns IL Batter of the Week Award

Moosic, Pa. Ronnier Mustelier is in the midst of a 13-game hitting streak, the International League’s top active string of success. On Monday, the IL office recognized the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders (Triple-A/New York Yankees) outfielder’s efforts when it named him the league’s Batter of the Week for the period from Aug. 19-25. He is the fifth RailRider to receive a weekly honor, joining southpaw Vidal Nuno (April 15-21), outfielder Zoilo Almonte (April 29-May 5), right-hander Chien-Ming Wang (May 27-June 2), and outfielder Melky Mesa (Aug. 5-11). Toledo’s Blaine Hardy earned Pitcher of the Week honors.

Mustelier played in six games for Scranton/Wilkes-Barre this past week, and recorded multiple hits in five of the contests. He recorded a .556 (13-for-23) average which led the International League, and was second in all of minor league baseball. Mustelier started the week off by driving in a run in each of the first three games and added three doubles throughout the week as well. Mustelier’s 13-game hitting streak began on Aug. 11. During it, he is batting .458 (22-for-48) with six doubles and five runs batted in. The streak has lifted his batting average by 36 points to .270.

The RailRiders play game two of a three-game set in Pawtucket, R.I. on Monday night against the Pawtucket Red Sox (Boston).  Only two home games remain at PNC Field on the 2013 regular-season calendar, as SWB will return home on Wednesday, Aug. 28 for a two-game series against Lehigh Valley (Philadelphia Phillies) to close out the PNC Field portion of its regular season. Kids eat free on Wednesdays thanks to Minooka Subaru, and first pitch on Wednesday is slated for 7:05 p.m. Thursday will be Fan Appreciation Night on a Budweiser Thirsty Thursday.

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 on the final two games of the 2013 campaign, or any other future Railriders events, please logon to the team’s official website, www.swbrailriders.com, visit the PNC Field box office, or call 570-969-BALL (2255).

- SWB RailRiders – All Aboard! -

PawSox Rally to Top the RailRiders, 6-5

Pawtucket, R.I. – The Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders (Triple-A/New York Yankees) raced out to an early lead, but the Pawtucket Red Sox (Boston) rallied from a 5-1 deficit to defeat the RailRiders on Sunday night, 6-5. The SWB offense left 15 runners on base, and went 2-14 with runners in scoring position.

Scranton/Wilkes-Barre wasted no time as they opened the game with a run in the top of the first. With one out, Adonis Garcia doubled to right field. Dan Johnson immediately followed with a double of his own to right-center field, and it gave the RailRiders an early lead.

Pawtucket leveled the game in the bottom of the first. Jackie Bradley Jr. began the inning with a double to right-center, and would later score on a base hit by Mark Hamilton.

Bobby Wilson returned the lead to SWB in the top of the second. Addison Maruszak led off the inning with a hard-liner up the middle. Wilson followed with a terrific at-bat. After fouling off a number of good pitches from PawSox starter Anthony Ranaudo, Wilson slammed a two-run home run to left field.

Another run crossed for the RailRiders in the third. Johnson started the rally with a single, and following base hits by Ronnier Mustelier and Maruszak, the bases were loaded. Ranaudo then issued a four-pitch walk to Wilson to force home Johnson from third base. Ranaudo was able to get out of the inning without further damage, and the SWB lead was 4-1.

The lead was stretched to 5-1 in the fourth. David Adams led off with a walk, and moved to second on a single by Garcia. He advanced to third on a fly ball by Johnson, and then scored when Randy Ruiz reached on a fielder’s choice. A double by Mustelier and walk to Neil Medchill loaded the bases, but SWB was unable to cash in.

The Pawtucket comeback started in the bottom of the fourth. With Hamilton aboard at first base, Bryce Brentz homered to left-center field. It was Brentz’s 17th home run of the season on the day he returned from the disabled list, and it cut the lead to 5-3.

Pawtucket leveled the game with a two-out, two-run rally in the fifth. Ryan Lavarnway, Hamilton, and Brentz each drew walks to load the bases. Jonathan Diaz then hit a double off the end of his bat, and it landed just to the left of the right-field foul line, and two runs came across to tie the game at five.

A seventh-inning home run untied the game in the seventh. Brock Holt led off the frame for Pawtucket, and he sent his third home run of the season over the right field fence to give the PawSox their first advantage of the night at 6-5. The Red Sox bullpen was able to close out the contest, and preserve the win.

Ranaudo was chased after pitching to one batter in the fourth; he allowed five runs on eight hits. Chris Martin (3-3) received the win out of the Pawtucket bullpen after tossing two scoreless innings.

Matt Daley (1-2) allowed the homer to Holt to pick-up the loss. That was the only blemish on Daley’s line, as he struck out three and did not walk a batter in his two innings.

SWB and the PawSox will meet for game two of their series at McCoy Stadium on Monday night. First pitch is set for 7:05 p.m., and right-hander Brett Marshall (7-10, 5.40) will take the mound for the RailRiders. 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! -

Porcupine Points – August 25

8-25-13 Game Notes

EL CAPITÁN: Derek Jeter singled on a 1-for-3 night, but made one of the team’s season-worst four errors as the RailRiders fell to the PawSox in 10 innings, 5-4. Jeter went 4-for-18 (.222) with five walks (.391 OBP) in seven games as a RailRider. He also committed three errors in 17 total chances in that time.

THE FIX IS IN: The RailRiders posted their 24th fixed-seat sellout of the season last night. Seven of the fixed-seat sellouts have come with Jeter in the lineup for a cumulative paid crowd of 66,860 (9,551/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 1-for-4 with a run scored. He has hit safely in 12 straight games and has multiple knocks in five of his last six. Over his longer string of success, the IL’s best active hit streak, he has hit .455 (20-for-44) with five doubles, five RBIs and six walks (.543 OBP). That makes for Triple-A’s 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 40 points (.273-.313).

STANDINGS SNAPSHOT: Last night’s win dropped the RailRiders’ elimination number to one in the division and two in the wild-card chase. Out of town, Rochester fell to Indianapolis, 6-4. The Red Wings have lost four straight, but still lead the wild-card field by 1.5 games. Indy clinched the IL West with its win, joining Durham as cemented playoff participants. Last night also saw Syracuse drop a 5-4 decision to Charlotte 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 six of seven and 12 of 14 to own first in the North 1.5 games.

BREAKING OUT: Addison Maruszak replaced Jeter defensively in the eighth after Jeter finished his scheduled seven innings of play. In the bottom half of the inning, he delivered a two-out, two-run double to snap what had been an 0-for-20 skid. It made for his first hit since July 9 against Rochester.

JUST (MED)CHILL: In his second career Triple-A game, Neil Medchill collected his first hit at the highest level of the minors. The Oklahoma State product connected on a two-out, two-run single that tied the game in the bottom of the ninth and forced free baseball. The former JUCO All-American at Chandler-Gilbert C.C. (alma mater of Andre Ethier) spent more than two months on the DL before becoming the RailRiders’ 70th player of the season on Thursday.

TOUGH LUCK: All-Star starter Chris Bootcheck (9-7) departed a 1-0 game and saw his final line include two scores (one earned) on three hits over 6.2 innings. Alas, he settled for a no-decision as his seventh attempt at win No. 10 fell short. Bootcheck was 9-2 at the All-Star break.

OFF THE RAILS: The RailRiders, who lead the IL with 122 home runs, have not homered in a season-high six straight games…All of the RailRiders’ eight hits last night were singles…SWB slammed 15 home runs during its five-game series at McCoy Stadium from June 29-July 3…Thirteen of the dingers came in its three wins…Jeremy Hazelbaker singled and stole a bag last night…He has hit .362 (17-for-47)/.388/.638/1.026 with six extra-base hits and nine RBIs in 11 games against the RailRiders…He has hit .252 against every other IL team…SWB and Pawtucket began the season with an extra-inning contest won by the PawSox…The final clash of the teams at PNC Field this season went the same way.

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.

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