Moosic, Pa. – A day of hope and optimism faded quickly as the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders (Triple-A/New York Yankees) and Charlotte Knights (Chicago White Sox) fought to a doubleheader split Wednesday afternoon at PNC Field. The RailRiders (43-50) took the initial contest 7-2 before dropping the second game of the twinbill by a final ledger of 5-1. The doubleheader split gave the Knights (38-56) the four-game series at 3-1.
Starter Chris Leroux was masterful in game No. 1, giving a RailRiders squad in desperate need of innings a complete game effort. Leroux authored six shutout frames before Andy Wilkins and Miguel Gonzales belted solo homers in the seventh for Charlotte’s two lone runs. Leroux (2-2) scattered eight hits in the complete game win and issued five strikeouts in his second straight triumph for SWB.
The offense backed its starter early, aiding Leroux with an initial run courtesy of a knock by Yangervis Solarte in the third. A crooked number followed in fourth by way of a bunt single by Antoan Richardson that plated Austin Romine, before a wild pitch by Erik Johnson allowed Corban Joseph to score from third, extending the RailRiders’ advantage to 3-0.
A scoreless fifth proceeded before SWB tagged Johnson (2-6) for four runs in home sixth to slate the right-hander with the loss. Richardson drove the bus, plating two runs in the seventh with a double before Jose Pirela and Solarte followed suit with back-to-back RBI singles that swelled SWB’s lead to 7-0. Richardson collected three RBI on the evening in the win.
Game two followed a similar script, with a different ending. Left-hander Matt Tracy spun four scoreless frames before a two-run triple by Marcus Semien chased him from the game. The two-run advantage proved to be enough as Knights’ starter Dylan Axelrod twirled five inning of one-run baseball before departing in line for the win after the fifth. Reliever Taylor Thompson finished off the contest by tossing two scoreless frames. Only two of the five runs scored in the second game against the RailRiders’ pitching staff counted as earned runs.
The RailRiders will host its second doubleheader in as many days Thursday, July 10 when SWB welcomes the Rochester Red Wings (Minnesota Twins) to PNC Field for a twinbill. The first game begins at 5:35 p.m. Scranton/Wilkes-Barre will toss right-hander Bruce Billings (4-5, 5.31), while Rochester counters with lefty Scott Diamond (4-7, 6.45). John Sadak and Aaron Berlin will have the call on MyNetwork TV while longtime voice Jim Riley fills in on radio. The pregame show begins at 5:05 p.m. on NEPA Sports Radio —The GAME, Northeast PA’s largest radio network: 100.7 FM, 1340 WYCK-AM, 1400 WICK-AM, 1440 WCDL-AM and 106.7 FM. For season ticket information, single-game tickets or to book a ballpark group outing, call (570) 969-BALL (2255) or visit swbrailirders.com.
OFF THE RAILS:
Chris Leroux’s complete game effort marked the first for his career. Leroux also became the first RailRiders starter in five days to spin at least five frames. The last RailRiders starter to twirl at least five frames not named Leroux: Shane Greene on June 27 when the right-hander lasted seven innings against the Syracuse Chiefs.
Antoan Richardson doubled and drove in three runs in opening game of the twinbill. The three RBI marked a season high for Richardson and the marked first time the outfielder had accomplished the feat since he drove in three-runs on April 18, 2013 against the Portland Sea Dogs (Double-A/Eastern League).
Yangervis Solarte went 4-for-7 in Wednesday’s doubleheader and drove in three runs. Since his option on July 3, the SWB infielder has hit safely in each of his first five games, including four with multiple hits. Solarte is 12-for-20 (.600) with four extra-base hits and five RBI since his option.
- SWB RailRiders – All Aboard! –
Moosic, Pa. – A quick two-run difference was promptly erased and a one-run lead built courtesy of a pair of well-timed home runs and a costly miscue. A 3-2 advantage refused to hold serve Saturday night at PNC Field as a four-run eighth inning, fueled by a trio of extra-base hits, reigned supreme in a 6-3 loss by the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders (Triple-A/New York Yankees) to the Buffalo Bisons (Toronto Blue Jays). The loss earned the RailRiders (42-47) a disappointing series split with the Herd (46-42), while moving the RailRiders to 6-5 this season against their northern brethren.
On a bullpen day for SWB, it was Edgmer Escalona who received the nod for the RailRiders. The right-hander gave SWB three efficient frames before departing in favor of Francisco Rondon in the fourth. The lefty worked a minimum faced frame before Buffalo tagged him for two runs in the fifth. The first tally came by way of a sacrifice fly and Ryan Goins made it 2-0 with a run-scoring single to right.
Solo home runs by John Ryan Murphy and Zoilo Almonte in the fifth and sixth brought the game back to sea level at 2-2, before a wild pitch with the bases loaded by Aaron Sanchez plated the go-ahead run in the sixth for a 3-2 lead.
Throwing on back-to-back nights, Pat Venditte relieved Diego Moreno in eighth and promptly allowed his only two batters faced to reach base. Matt Daley followed suit, allowing a double by Erik Kratz that drew the game even at 3-3. A sacrifice fly plated the go-ahead run and successive doubles by Andy LaRoche and Jonathan Diaz brought the game to its final resting point at 6-3.
Venditte (2-3) did not record an out in the loss, while starter-turned-reliever Kyle Drabek (6-6) worked around a hit in two shutout frames to score the win. All-Star closer Bobby Korecky picked-up his team-leading 11th save of the year in the process.
After wrapping up the series with the Bisons, the RailRiders will open a four-game series with the Charlotte Knights (Chicago White Sox) Sunday, July 6 at 7:05 p.m. Scranton/Wilkes-Barre has yet to announce a starter, while Charlotte counters with righty Deunte Heath (5-1, 2.39). John Sadak and Aaron Berlin will have the call on MyNetwork TV with longtime voice Jim Riley filling in on radio. The pregame show begins at 6:35 p.m. on NEPA Sports Radio —The GAME, Northeast PA’s largest radio network: 100.7 FM, 1340 WYCK-AM, 1400 WICK-AM, 1440 WCDL-AM and 106.7 FM. For season ticket information, single-game tickets or to book a ballpark group outing, call (570) 969-BALL (2255) or visit swbrailirders.com.
OFF THE RAILS:
Zoilo Almonte clubbed his team-leading 13th home run of the season. The home run by Almonte was his fourth of the season against the Herd, the most by any RailRider against a single team this season.
Yangervis Solarte reported to SWB after a July 3 option by the New York Yankees. The RailRiders’ recently received infielder went 3-for-3 in his SWB debut with an extra-base hit and walk. Solarte also helped ignite an inning-ending 5-4-3 double play that helped Escalona escape a Ryan Goins base hit in the third.
Jose Pirela collected two more base hits and reached base a third time on a fielder’s choice in the ninth. The RailRiders’ lone All-Star now has a league-leading 106 base hits, while raising his contact clip to .319 on the season.
Rob Refsnyder went 0-for-5 with a strikeout and four groundouts in Saturday’s loss. The hitless day dropped his batting average 18 points from .333 to .315 on the season.
Moosic, Pa. – On a night the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders (Triple-A/New York Yankees) did not know a lead until the very end, second baseman Rob Refsnyder sent a capacity crowd of 10,000 strong at PNC Field home happy, capping a furious ninth-inning comeback win with a three-run home run that propelled the RailRiders (42-46) to a thrilling 7-6 win Friday night.
The RailRiders’ fate seemed forthcoming. The Herd built a monstrous four-run lead off SWB starter Joel De La Cruz in the first two innings. Back-to-back run-scoring knocks by Dan Johnson and Erik Kratz assembled a 2-0 advantage in the first, before Cory Aldridge’s two-run jack in the second made it 4-0 in favor of the visiting nine.
The spirited RailRiders had a response, first avoiding the shutdown frame in the second with three-straight extra-base hits. Kyle Roller ignited the scoring, legging out a hustle double before plating the SWB’s first run on Scott Sizemore’s double to deep center. John Ryan Murphy helped hang the crooked number by threading an extra-base hit to left that cut the lead in half at 4-2.
Buffalo tagged De La Cruz for another tally in the fourth, this time in the form of a majestic solo homer by Ryan Schimpf that swelled the lead to 5-2.
De La Cruz departed after firing 1-2-3 fourth in favor a trio of bullpen arms. Pat Venditte worked a scoreless fifth and sixth, dancing around hits in each frame before handing the baton off to Danny Burawa in the seventh. The talented right-hander retired six of his seven batters faced via the strikeout to get the RailRiders through the eighth.
Roller made sure a leadoff single by Refsnyder in the eighth did not go to waste, launching an RBI double to center to bring the RailRiders within two. SWB plated another run on a single by Sizemore that drew the contest to 5-4.
Trailing by one heading into the final frame, reliever Jose Ramirez walked the bases loaded and allowed a run on a wild pitch that setup the RailRiders’ ninth-inning theatrics. Steve Delabar struck out his first two batters before a two-out triple by Carmen Angelini kept the frame alive. Delabar bruised Jose Pirela with a ball to the hands to put runners at first and third before Refsnyder finished the charge with his three-run home run in the ninth.
The RailRiders conclude the series with the Bisons Saturday, July 5 at 7:05 p.m. Scranton/Wilkes-Barre sends right-hander Bruce Billings (4-5, 5.31) to the hill, while Buffalo counters with righty Aaron Sanchez (0-1, 4.43). John Sadak and Aaron Berlin will have the call on radio with the pregame show beginning at 6:35 p.m. on NEPA Sports Radio —The GAME, Northeast PA’s largest radio network: 100.7 FM, 1340 WYCK-AM, 1400 WICK-AM, 1440 WCDL-AM and 106.7 FM. For season ticket information, single-game tickets or to book a ballpark group outing, call (570) 969-BALL (2255) or visit swbrailirders.com.
OFF THE RAILS:
Rob Refsnyder’s three-run home run snapped a four-game home losing skid for SWB. The win marked the club’s first home victory since a 5-4 victory over Pawtucket on June 22. The home run also gave the RailRiders their fourth walk-off victory of the season and the team’s first since an 11-inning triumph over the Durham Bulls (Tampa Bay Rays) on May 11.
Adonis Garcia went 1-for-4 with three strikeouts Friday night against Buffalo. Since returning from the disabled list Garcia is just 2-for-9 with five strikeouts.
Danny Burawa fanned six of his seven batters faced Friday night to record career-high six strikeouts. Burawa’s previous high-water mark had been five punchouts, which he had accomplished twice with the last such occurrence coming April 13, 2013 against the Richmond Flying Squirrels (Double-A/San Francisco Giants).
SWB improved to 6-4 this season against the Herd, including taking the last two games between the two clubs.
- SWB RailRiders – All Aboard! –
Allentown, Pa. – A giant miscue by the Lehigh Valley IronPigs (Philadelphia Phillies) in the ninth inning Sunday afternoon at Coca-Cola Park helped aide the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders (Triple-A/New York Yankees) to a 6-5 win and a series sweep of the IronPigs. Zoilo Almonte blasted his team-leading 11th home run of the campaign and collected four RBIs in the process, while Scott Sizemore provided some insurance of a two-run bomb. The win concludes the RailRiders’ (40-42) five-game four-day road trip against the IL North with a 4-1 record.
Almonte began the scoring by driving in an early run in the first. Rob Refsnyder reached on a double and scored on Almonte’s go-ahead single that notched the early SWB lead at 1-0.
The initial advantage faltered as starter Joel De La Cruz retired his first six hitters before giving up a double to Leandro Castro in the home third. A run-scoring single by Nate Barns plated Lehigh Valley’s first tally before a bases loaded walk to Russ Canzler brought about the second. The walk to Canzler chased De La Cruz from the game with the RailRiders trailing, 2-1.
Chris Bootcheck retired seven straight and carried the 2-1 lead into the fifth before Jose Pirela reached on a single and a walk to Refsnyder put runners on with Almonte stepping to the plate. The RailRiders’ everyday outfielder followed with a majestic home run to right that put the RailRiders on top for good at 4-2.
Lehigh Valley got a run back off reliever Diego Moreno in the sixth, but a two-run jack by Sizemore in the visiting eighth put the game out of reach. A late rally Lehigh Valley rally plated two more runs off reliever Jim Miller that drew the contest back to within one at 6-5 where the scored would stay.
Francisco Rondon (2-0) spun 2.1 innings in relief before departing in line for the win. A trio of talented arms followed as Moreno, Miller and Robert Coello (4) finished the game to keep ‘Pigs at bay. Bootcheck (2-4) was slated with the loss after being chased in the fifth inning.
The RailRiders return to PNC Field Monday, June 30 against Lehigh Valley with a 7:05 p.m. start. The RailRiders send right-hander Bruce Billings (4-4, 4.70) to the mound. Lehigh Valley will toss right-hander Brad Lincoln (4-3, 4.03). John Sadak will have the call on radio with the pregame show beginning at 6:35 p.m. on NEPA Sports Radio —The GAME, Northeast PA’s largest radio network: 100.7 FM, 1340 WYCK-AM, 1400 WICK-AM, 1440 WCDL-AM and 106.7 FM. For season ticket information, single-game tickets or to book a ballpark group outing, call (570) 969-BALL (2255) or visit swbrailirders.com.
OFF THE RAILS:
The RailRiders took their third-straight game against Lehigh Valley to bring the season-long total between the two clubs to 4-6. IronRail trophy is a season-long rivalry series between Pennsylvania’s two International League franchises.
Rob Refsnyder collected another base extra-base hit Sunday afternoon to raise his season long contact clip to .371 in 19 games with SWB. Since June 15 Refsnyder has been the top contact bat in the International League, going 21-for-46 (.457) with five doubles and three home runs.
Lehigh Valley dropped its third-straight one-run ballgame in the 6-5 loss Sunday afternoon.
- SWB RailRiders – All Aboard! –
ABOUT LAST NIGHT: The chase for the IronRail Trophy heated up Saturday night at Coca-Cola Park as the RailRiders rode an early barrage of extra-base hits to a 4-3 win over the Lehigh Valley IronPigs. The RailRiders moved to 3-1 in their five-game road trip and leapt out of last place and over Lehigh Valley in the process. SWB has now claimed the last the last two affairs between the in-state rivals after dropping six of the first seven. The RailRiders had lost nine of their prior 11 one-run games before claiming the single-score success.
WELCOME BACK: Chris Leroux made his first SWB appearance since a loss to Lehigh Valley April 21. He tossed five innings on 75 pitches and allowed just one run on three hits (two infield singles, one on a bunt). It marked his first stateside win since Aug. 27, 2012 when he triumphed versus Columbus while a member of Indianapolis’ rotation.
STOP, THIEVES!: The Chiefs went 4-for-4 in stolen base tries in Thursday’s doubleheader. The RailRiders have allowed their opponents to successfully swipe a bag in each of their last 22 tries. The RailRiders have nabbed just 21 of 107 (.196) would-be base stealers. No IL team has had more stolen base attempts or successes against it than SWB which has the circuit’s worst caught-stealing efficiency. Lehigh Valley leads the league with its .397 caught-stealing efficiency.
UNDER MY PIRELA: Jose Pirela made his first career appearance in right field. He has now played first, second, left and right as a RailRider. He also posted two hits and lifted his average to .316, good for eighth in the IL. He also ranks among the circuit’s best in hits (2nd, 94), runs scored (2nd, 52) and total bases (3rd, 135). He has hit .345/.392/.527/.919 this month with a league-best 38 hits.
WHAT ABOUT BOB?: After starting his Triple-A tenure 2-for-16, Rob Refsnyder has gone 19-for-43 (.442/.579/.791/1.370) with eight extra-base hits (three home runs), nine RBIs, 13 walks and 14 runs scored in 14 games. His efforts yesterday saw him go 1-for-2 with an odd inside-the-park home run. Refsnyder ranks among the league’s June leaders in average (2nd, .356), on-base percentage (.479) and OPS (2nd, 1.090). The June OBP leads all of Triple-A.
ON A ROLL: Kyle Roller went 2-for-2 with two walks and a run scored. His fourth multi-hit showing in his last six games lifted his Triple-A average to .301. He has gone 9-for-20 (.450) in that time with four walks (.542 OBP).
JUST-US LEAGUE: The RailRiders lead the loop in batting average (.271) and slugging (.406)…However, SWB has the IL’s lowest walk total (242, 2.99/game) and just a .335 OBP…Lehigh Valley ranks second-worst with its .242 contact clip and last with its .363 slugging percentage…Lehigh Valley ranks 10th in the 14-team league with its 4.18 ERA while SWB stands 11th at 4.36…The RailRiders own the IL’s second-worst fielding percentage (.976) while the IronPigs boast its fourth-best rate (.982).
IRONRAIL TROPHY: On June 13 of last year, the RailRiders and IronPigs announced the creation of the “IronRail Trophy”. The 16-game series between the RailRiders and IronPigs decides the annual winner. The stakes have the losing team’s GM singing in a fat lady costume on the winner’s video board after home wins in the series and the heavy hardware itself. The trophy is held by the previous year’s winning team. The 2013 series was an 8-8 draw, but per the rules, the winner of the last game won the tiebreaker. By taking a 3-2 contest on Aug. 31 in Allentown, the RailRiders claimed the prize. SWB owns a 59-46 lead in the all-time series dating back to Lehigh Valley’s inaugural 2008 season. Lehigh Valley has only won a season series against SWB once, and did so by the slimmest of margins when it went 9-7 in 2010. The RailRiders trail this year’s set, 6-3.
SPLIT DOUBLE-DIP: It started so well. The RailRiders jumped out to a 5-0 lead thanks in large part to a Taylor Dugas bases-loaded double, held off a rally, and used some final-frame insurance to best the mighty Syracuse Chiefs in Thursday’s doubleheader opener, 7-4. The IL juggernaut’s eight-game winning streak was snapped. The RailRiders’ had sliced into their significant divisional deficit. Then came game two. A 3-0 lead thanks to an Austin Romine bases-loaded double seemed set to deliver a carbon-copy victory. But homers by Steven Souza, Jr. and Zach Walters tied the game while chasing Nik Turley. Former SWB and New York Yankee Brandon Laird then singled home Souza in the fourth to give the Chiefs a 4-3 lead. That advantage went final.
THAT’S A FIRST: The doubleheader included Dugas’ first Triple-A extra-base hit…John Ryan Murphy‘s first passed ball as a 2014 RailRider…Scott Sizemore‘s first game at first base since May 29…SWB’s first twinbill since April 17.
FALLING FROM AHEAD: By blowing a 3-0 advantage in game two, the RailRiders tied their season-high mark for largest lead erased in a loss. The team saw a 3-0 edge in a 6-3 loss to Toledo in 10 innings on June 10; in a 5-4 loss at Columbus on June 12; and June 18 in a rain-shortened 4-3 loss at Toledo on June 18. The RailRiders have owned a lead in 19 (45%) of their 42 losses.
TOUGH TIMES: Since its May 28 win at Louisville, SWB has gone 10-18 (.357). Ten of those losses have come by one run or in extra innings.
STOP, THIEVES!: The Chiefs went 4-for-4 in stolen base tries on Thursday. The RailRiders have allowed their opponents to successfully swipe a bag in each of their last 22 tries. The RailRiders have nabbed just 21 of 107 (.196) would-be base stealers. No IL team has had more stolen base attempts or successes against it than SWB which has the circuit’s worst caught-stealing efficiency. Syracuse has allowed the loop’s second-fewest swipes (34) and has seen opponents attempt just 50 steals, also the second-lowest number in the IL.
SCOUTING SYRACUSE: The Chiefs are the hottest and best team in the IL. Winners in nine of 10 while outscoring foes 69-28, the Chiefs have gone a league-best 19-6 in June while leading the league with a .299 team batting average. Steven Souza leads the league in average (.368), OBP (.462) and SLG (.584). He has crushed this month .393/.480/.655/1.135, ranking first or second in each slash category. Laird ranks seventh with his .321 average. He has 24 extra-base hits and 42 RBIs as the team’s usual eight-hole hitter. He enters tonight on a 12-game hitting streak with slashes of .468/.490/.830/1.320, four homers and 14 RBIs. 2013 IL All-Star Zach Walters has hit .281 with 11 homers as the team’s usual second baseman. Syracuse was a league-worst 30-42 at home in 2013, but stands a league-best 27-12 (.692) at home in 2014 and an IL-best 49-31 overall (.613).
JUST-US LEAGUE: The RailRiders lead the loop in batting average (.271) and slugging (.406)…However, SWB has the IL’s lowest walk total (233, 2.6/game) and just a .334 OBP…Syracuse ranks second by fractions of a point with its .271 contact clip and second in both slugging at .403 and ERA at 3.43…No IL squad has allowed fewer homers (41) or issued fewer walks (221) than the Chiefs who have tossed a league-best 11 SHOs while getting blanked a league-best-tying twice…The RailRiders own the IL’s fourth-worst team ERA (4.44) and second-worst fielding percentage (.976) while Syracuse boasts its fifth-best rate (.981)…The RailRiders have won six of the teams’ nine clashes putting the Chiefs at 46-25 (.648) against the rest of the IL and 17-10 (.630) against the balance of the North.
OFF THE RAILS: After starting his Triple-A tenure 2-for-16, Rob Refsnyder has gone 16-for-38 (.421/.551/.658/1.209) with six extra-base hits, five RBIs, 10 walks and 11 runs scored in 12 games…Nik Turley became the 17th different starting pitcher for the RailRiders…The team has used 55 different players in total…Last year’s team used 73 players, two off the league’s single-season record set by Norfolk in 2012, and the 2013 RailRiders had 20 different starting pitchers.
FIRST TIME IN A LONG TIME: It had been awhile. Two months to be exact. The RailRiders’ first rainout since April 25 postponed play between SWB and Rochester, shelving the contest until the Red Wings next visit PNC Field on July 10. The RailRiders’ eighth rainout of the season was just their third at home.
ROCKED: The RailRiders’ season-long woes against Rochester continued as the Red Wings plated five unanswered runs to rally for a 7-5 series-opening win Tuesday. The RailRiders are 1-7 against Rochester this season and they have lost 10 of their last 11 clashes going back to last season. SWB fell to a season-worst-tying five games below .500 and a season-worst 11.5 games out in the North.
FALLING FROM AHEAD: The RailRiders led 2-0 after the first inning. They have owned a lead in 18 (44%) of their 41 losses this season.
NICE SHOOTIN’ SON, WHAT’S YOUR NAME?: John Ryan Murphy connected on two of the team’s three extra-base hits and drove in three of its five runs. Since coming back from the bigs he has gone 6-for-17 (.353) with four extra-base hits.
ANNA BEGINS: Dean Anna‘s first game off the disabled list sported his second home hit of the season. Anna entered the night 1-for-33 (.030) at PNC Field but doubled his hit total with a 1-for-4 showing. Conversely, the 2013 PCL batting champion has hit .290/.375/.478/.853 on the road as a RailRider in 17 games with eight extra-base hits among his 20.
STOP, THIEVES!: Eric Farris stole second base in the eighth inning. The RailRiders have allowed their opponents to successfully swipe a bag in each of their last 18 tries. The RailRiders have nabbed just 21 of 103 (.204) would-be base stealers. No IL team has had more stolen base attempts or successes against it than SWB which has the circuit’s worst caught-stealing efficiency. No team has allowed fewer stolen bases than Rochester (31). The Red Wings rank fourth in efficiency (.340) but have only seen their foe attempt a steal a league-low 47 times.
TOUGH TIMES: Since its May 28 win at Louisville, SWB has gone 9-17 (.346). Nine of those losses have come by one run or in extra innings.
UNDER MY PIRELA: Jose Pirela homered for the second time in as many days on Tuesday. His third homer in five games lifted his season-long total to seven, tying the leadoff man for second on the team. His lone double-digit home run season came last year when he hit 10 over 129 games, mostly with Double-A Trenton. He enters tonight ranked among the IL’s best in average (5th, .320), hits (2nd, 90), runs scored (2nd, 52) and total bases (T-4th, 131). He went 1-for-4 with a walk, two RBIs and two runs scored. Pirela started June with a five-hit effort at Indianapolis. He has hit .362/.402/.574/.976 on the month with the IL’s fourth-best average, fifth-best OPS and its highest June hit total (34).
SCOUTING SYRACUSE: The Chiefs are the hottest and best team in the IL. Winners of eight straight while outscoring foes 61-18, the Chiefs have gone a league-best 18-5 in June while leading the league with a .300 team batting average. Steven Souza leads the league in average (.362), OBP (.463) and SLG (.576). He has crushed this month .397/.484/.641/1.125, ranking first or second in each slash category. SWB alumnus Brandon Laird ranks seventh with his .312 average. He has 22 extra-base hits and 40 RBIs as the team’s usual eight-hole hitter. He enters the series on a 10-game hitting streak hitting .439/.467/.805/1.272 with four homers and 12 RBIs. 2013 IL All-Star Zach Walters has hit .290 with 10 homers as the team’s usual second baseman. Syracuse was a league-worst 30-42 at home last year, but stands a league-best 26-11 at home in 2014 and is the IL’s only team with an overall winning percentage over 60 (.615).
OFF THE RAILS: The RailRiders lead the league in batting average (.270) and slugging (.406)…However, SWB has the IL’s lowest walk total (224, 2.9/game) and just a .333 OBP…Syracuse ranks second by fractions of a point with its .270 contact clip and ranks second with its 3.38 ERA…No IL squad has allowed fewer home runs (41) or issued fewer walks (212) than the Chiefs who have tossed a league-best 11 shutouts while getting blanked a league-best-tying two times…The RailRiders own the IL’s fourth-worst team ERA (4.42)…SWB sports the league’s worst fielding percentage (.975) while Syracuse boasts its fifth-best rate (.981).
Moosic, Pa. – A two-run lead refused to hold serve Tuesday night at PNC Field as the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders (Triple-A/New York Yankees) fell from the mountaintop en route to its second straight loss, a 7-5 defeat at the hands of the Rochester Red Wings (Minnesota Twins). John Ryan Murphy collected two hits and drove in three runs, while Jose Pirela mashed his seventh tater of the campaign in the two-run tilt.
On social media night at PNC Field, Murphy gave the announced crowd of 4,511 something to chat about. The initial occurrence came in the home first a two-run double to center that put the RailRiders (36-41) on the board. Murphy followed his first at-bat by clubbing a monstrous opposite-way home run to left in the fifth that helped bring the RailRiders’ offense to life.
A three-run Rochester second propeled the visiting nine to five unanswered runs. Back-to-back walks began the frame before an error and a two-run single by Eric Farris hung the crooked number. Two more tallies followed in the third before Murphy’s home run brought the RailRiders to within striking difference at 5-3.
Rochester buoyed a run in the seventh prior to Pirela’s two-run dinger in the seventh drew the game to within one at 6-5. Former SWB product Doug Bernier stung his former club by reaching on a walk and scoring on a fielder’s choice in the eighth that proved too much to overcome.
Bruce Billings (3-4) spun six innings of five-hit ball in the loss, while left-hander Logan Darnell (4-4) wobbled through five tough frames to pick up the win. Michael Tonkin (5) worked a perfect ninth to lockdown the save.
The RailRiders conclude the six-game run at PNC Field and two-game set with the Rochester Red Wings Wednesday, June 25 at 7:05 p.m. The RailRiders will toss right-hander Alfredo Aceves (0-0, 2.89) while Rochester calls upon left-hander Kris Johnson (6-3, 2.72). John Sadak and Aaron Berlin will have the call on radio with the pregame show beginning at 6:35 p.m. on NEPA Sports Radio —The GAME, Northeast PA’s largest radio network: 100.7 FM, 1340 WYCK-AM, 1400 WICK-AM, 1440 WCDL-AM and 106.7 FM. For season ticket information, single-game tickets or to book a ballpark group outing, call (570) 969-BALL (2255) or visit swbrailirders.com.
OFF THE RAILS:
Jose Pirela walked and homered in the ballgame to reach base twice. The RailRiders do-everything man has now reached base safely in 15-straight contests, including hits in 11 of his last 12 games. During the 15-game run, Pirela is 17-for-62 with a slash line of .274/.328/.452/.780.
John Ryan Murphy doubled and homered in the game while also driving in three runs. The home run marked Murphy’s first as a RailRider this season and second overall. The three runs driven tied a season-high for Murphy with the last such occurrence coming during his time with the New York Yankees a 2-for-3 nights on April 26 against the Los Angeles Angels. Murphy also homered in the ballgame.
- SWB RailRiders – All Aboard! –
Moosic, Pa. – The Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders (Triple-A/New York Yankees) rallied from a three-run deficit to top the Pawtucket Red Sox (Boston Red Sox) 5-4 Sunday afternoon at PNC Field. Austin Romine drove in the tying and go-ahead runs with a sacrifice fly in the sixth and a double that was lost in the sun by right field Alex Hassan in the eighth.
An early lead was erased in the second courtesy of a pair of costly miscues. Doubles by Ryan Roberts and Dan Butler plated Pawtucket’s first two runs, but it was a wild pitch and passed ball that led to the final tally of the frame to give Pawtucket the daunting 3-1 advantage. The final Paw Sox run crossed in the third, this time by way of a run-scoring base knock by Carlos Rivero that ballooned the lead to 4-1.
Facing Pawtucket’s ace Allen Webster, the violent RailRiders comeback commenced. Rob Refsnyder took home on a passed ball while Zoilo Almonte made it a one-run affair with a base hit that helped hang the RailRiders’ crooked number in the third. Romine’s sacrifice fly in the sixth evened the contest before the RailRiders’ catcher put the local nine ahead, plating Kyle Roller with a one-out double in the eighth.
Pat Venditte (2-2) posted a well-deserved win, spinning three scoreless frames in relief of starter Shane Greene who labored through five frames. Venditte did not allow a hit, needing 30 pitches to calm the Red Sox offense while fanning a batter. Danny Burawa (3) struck out two before working around a bloop single and well placed base knock by Mookie Betts to secure the save. Chris Resop was charged with the loss, allowing the go-ahead in the eighth.
The RailRiders will look to earn the series win with their northern brethren Monday, June 23 at 7:05 p.m. The RailRiders will toss the left-hander Jeremy Bleich (0-1, 8.10) while the Red Sox call upon the right-hander Steve Wright (1-1, 3.57). John Sadak and Aaron Berlin will have the call on radio with the pregame show beginning at 6:35 p.m. on NEPA Sports Radio —The GAME, Northeast PA’s largest radio network: 100.7 FM, 1340 WYCK-AM, 1400 WICK-AM, 1440 WCDL-AM and 106.7 FM. For season ticket information, single-game tickets or to book a ballpark group outing, call (570) 969-BALL (2255) or visit swbrailirders.com.
OFF THE RAILS:
Scott Sizemore committed two errors during Sunday’s ballgame. The multiple errors brought his single-season mark up to six, while the multi-error contest marked the first occurrence for Sizemore since September 7, 2011 against the Kansas City Royals.
Rob Refsnyder collected two more base hits Sunday to raise his season-long contact clip with SWB to .318. Refsnyder has now collected a hit seven of his last eight games, including four multi-hit affairs. During the run of success the RailRiders’ usual second baseman is 12-for-28 (.429).
SWB claimed its fifth win against Pawtucket in seven tries this season. The five wins against Pawtucket marks the second most for SWB against a single club, trailing only their 6-2 mark against the Indianapolis Indians (Pittsburgh Pirates). SWB still has nine games remaining against Boston’s top satellite. The win also moved SWB to 17-18 against divisional foes.
- SWB RailRiders – All Aboard! –
MOTHER NAUGHTY BY NATURE: A 48-minute delay preceded play, but the RailRiders claimed a 3-0 lead early in Toledo. Alas, Mother Nature’s prosperous path led to a doomed finish. A Manny Pina home run gave the Mud Hens a one-run edge and driving rains spoiled a bases-loaded comeback threat as the RailRiders lost a rain-shortened contest at Fifth Third Field Wednesday night, 4-3.
BILL ME: It spoiled a solid showing by Bruce Billings (4-3). The Opening Day man tossed seven innings for the third time this season, struck out a season-best seven, and retired the last 10 he faced. He also allowed the four scores and took his second straight loss. At home, Billings has gone 3-0 with a 1.42 ERA, a .191 batting average against and no home runs. On the road, he is 1-3 with a 7.43 ERA, a .339 batting average against and five home runs allowed.
CURSES, ZOILED AGAIN: The RailRiders loaded the bases with three-two out walks in the eighth, but rains forced the tarp to unfurl with Zoilo Almonte at the plate and an 0-1 count on the board. After a 1:05 delay, the umpires called the contest over. That snapped Almonte’s hitting streak at 15 games as he went 0-for-4 with a strikeout. It was the IL’s top active hitting streak and one of the loop’s top five on the season. The string’s early stage was disrupted by a nearly month-long stay in the bigs. Despite that, he leads the team in home runs (10) and RBIs (35). During his hitting streak he went 21-for-62 (.339) with four home runs, 12 RBIs and eight runs scored. Almonte and Rochester’s Chris Parmelee now share one of the league’s five-best hitting streaks this season. Kevin Pillar’s 18-gamer with Buffalo is the current gold standard with Adonis Garcia‘s 17-gamer tied for second. Garcia’s was the SWB franchise’s best in half a decade.
SEVENTH HEAVEN: Billings authored the team’s seventh start of seven innings or more. The 4-3 final that lowered Billings’ record to 4-3 brought the team’s mark in games where its starter goes at least seven innings to…4-3.
FALLING FROM AHEAD: By blowing a 3-0 advantage, the RailRiders tied their season-high mark for largest lead erased in a loss. The team saw a 3-0 edge evaporate in a 5-4 loss at Columbus in last Thursday’s road trip opener. That came the night after a 3-0 lead led to a 6-3 loss in 10 innings versus Toledo in last homestand’s June 10 finale. The RailRiders have owned a lead in 15 (41%) of their 37 losses.
BEST IN THE WEST: Today’s contest concludes a stretch of 24 straight games against non-divisional foes with the bulk of them coming against the IL West. The team is 10-13 through 23 games on this run and 13-10 against IL West teams on the year. When SWB returns home, it begins the second half of its 144-game schedule and plunges back into IL North play against Pawtucket. Two-thirds of the team’s remaining 72 contests will pit it against its Northern brothers.
OFF THE RAILS: The RailRiders have allowed a homer in a season-worst 10 straight games…Despite that surge, SWB pitching has only surrendered 43 total taters, the IL’s third-lowest sum (Pawtucket 36; Syracuse 39)…Toledo’s Mike Hessman, who stands one home run shy of snapping a tie with Buffalo legend Ollie Carnegie for the most home runs in IL history, has yet to face the RailRiders this season while he mends a wrist injury from a collision at home plate, oddly enough, in Buffalo…The RailRiders have lost six of their last seven one-run games…They are guaranteed to endure a losing road trip and to return home to NEPA with a losing record…Wednesday marked SWB’s first rain-shortened game since an Aug. 15, 2012 doubleheader nightcap at Pawtucket was called after four-and-a-half innings due to rain and lightning…The result that Wednesday night was a 5-2 PawSox win…Billings delivered the RailRiders’ first start of seven or more innings since Zach Nuding lasted eight innings in a May 24 win against Rochester…Antoan Richardson notched his team-best 18th stolen base…He ranks second in the league and has not been nabbed in his last 41 attempts going back to last May.