Moosic, Pa. – The Charlotte Knights (Triple-A/Chicago White Sox) rallied from a 2-0 deficit to defeat the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders (New York Yankees) on Wednesday night in 10 innings, 4-2. The Knights scored two in the top of the ninth to tie the contest, and two more in the top of the 10th to take the lead.
The loss spoiled a superb starting performance from Chris Bootcheck, as he shutout the Knights over seven innings of work. Bootcheck held Charlotte to just three hits, and issued four strikeouts while setting down the side in order in four of his seven frames.
The RailRiders went in front in the bottom of the first inning. Adonis Garcia led off the frame by reaching on an error by shortstop Leury Garcia. An infield single by Melky Mesa advanced him to second base, and Dan Johnson then singled through the right side to drive home Garcia.
Alberto Gonzalez doubled the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre lead in the bottom of the fifth. With two outs, Gonzalez hit a home run off the top of the wall in left field. It was Gonzalez’s first home run as a RailRider, and extended the SWB lead to 2-0.
The lead remained slim at just two, and the Knights rallied to tie the game in the top of the ninth. Travis Ishikawa began the rally with a single. One out later, Steve Tolleson drew a walk. The bases were loaded after Jim Gallagher’s base hit. Michael Earley then singled to right field to drive home Ishikawa, and Miguel Gonzalez then tied the game with a sacrifice fly to right field that plated Tolleson.
After the RailRiders did not score in the bottom of the ninth, Charlotte pushed across two runs to take the lead in the 10th. Marcus Semien led off the inning with a home run to left field, his third at the Triple-A level gave the Knights their first lead. Brent Morel then walked, stole second base, and moved to third on a throwing error by catcher J.R. Murphy. He then scored when Andy Wilkins hit a sacrifice fly to right field.
Leyson Septimo (2-0) worked the final two innings for Charlotte to get the win. He didn’t allow a run, and struck out four opposing batters.
Mike Zagurski (6-3) entered the game in the ninth, and took the loss after allowing four runs in two innings.
Game three of four-game set between SWB and Charlotte is set for Thursday night at PNC Field. For the first two hours after gates open at 6 p.m., Pepsi products and Bud Light will be just one dollar on a Budweiser Thirsty Thursday. It’s also Halfway to St. Patrick’s Day, and first pitch is scheduled for 7:05 p.m., and Chase Whitley (2-2, 3.70) will ascend the mound for SWB and he’ll be opposed by left-hander Charlie Leesman (3-1, 3.47).
- SWB RailRiders – All Aboard! -
HAPPY BIRTHDAY: On the day he turned 34, veteran outfielder Corey Patterson proved fairly giving. The birthday boy delivered a solo homer on a three-hit day with two runs scored, and managed to swipe a base in the process as the RailRiders beat the Knights, 7-1.
BACK-TO-BACK JACKS: Patterson’s seventh-inning blast off Simon Castro was promptly followed by catcher J.R. Murphy‘s fourth home run of the season and his first since July 3. It made for the RailRiders’ fourth set of back-to-back home runs on the season. Addison Maruszak had been involved during each of SWB’s first three consecutive clouts. On June 4 against Syracuse’s Jeff Mandel, Melky Mesa went yard before Maruszak did the same. Josh Bell set the stage for Maruszak against Brandon Workman at Pawtucket on June 30. Most recently, it was Maruszak first and Patterson second off Lehigh Valley’s Tom Cochran on July 7. Despite a 50-66 home-road split of taters on the season, the three of the RailRiders’ four back-to-back performances have come at PNC Field.
LET’S GET HIM ON: Murphy reached base five times in five plate appearances. In addition to his homer, he hustled to beat out a throw from Marcus Semien after the Charlotte shortstop errantly bobbled his fielding attempt. Starter Erik Johnson (2-1) hit Murphy with his first pitch of the third inning. In the fourth, Murphy delivered a two-out RBI single that scored Brent Lillibridge. After his homer in the seventh, Murphy rallied from down 0-2 in the count to work a walk that loaded the bases against Tony Pena, Jr. in the eighth. After dipping down below .270 for the first time since his first week at Triple-A, Murphy has hit safely in four straight games, going 6-for-14 (.429) with three extra-base hits, three RBIs, two walks and three runs scored. The spurt has lifted his season-long contact clip by 13 points (.268-.281). The RailRiders’ primary catcher caught Steve Tolleson stealing. Murphy cut down Charlotte’s second-leading steals man during his first-inning try at second base. Tolleson had not been nabbed since June 21 at Indianapolis.
C.C.: Caleb Cotham (5-5) leveled his record with five innings of five-hit, one-run ball for his second win in as many starts and his third straight winning decision. After failing to post a monthly ERA below 5.71 between May, June or July, Cotham is off to a fantastic start this month. In three starts, he is 2-0 with a 2.00 ERA. While he only has five strikeouts over 18 innings on the month, he has also issued just three walks (1.5/9 IP) and has seen his groundout-to-airout ratio improve to 1.69 on the month. The team now has a winning record when Cotham gets the nod (7-6). His ERA, which peaked at 11.34 after a May 25 home loss to Durham, was at 7.49 following a tough loss at Pawtucket on July 3. Last night’s effort lowered it to 5.63 on the year, the best it has been since he suffered a rough setback in his second Triple-A start at Toledo on May 14.
NEW TO THE FOLD: Former Philadelphia Phillies hurler David Herndon made his RailRiders debut with 1.1 innings of scoreless and hitless relief. A fifth-rounder by the Angels in 2006, he was a Rule 5 pick by the Phillies in 2009. He made 92 appearances for the Phils from 2010-11, but needed Tommy John in 2012. Last night marked just his ninth career Triple-A appearance.
PLAYER PARADE: Herndon became the 69th different man to play for the RailRiders this season. There have been 35 position players and 34 pitchers in the RailRiders colors in 2013. Last season, Norfolk set the IL record by using 75 different players, surpassing the 74 players used by the 2003 Louisville Bats. The Tides also tied an IL record by using 25 different starting pitchers, and 15 different pitchers registered a save. Norfolk made 228 roster moves during the course of its 144-game season, and the Tides had just two players – outfielder Jamie Hoffmann and reliever Oscar Villarreal – remain active with the club throughout the year. By comparison, the RailRiders have seen 168 roster moves thus far, 20 different starting pitchers, and 12 different pitchers have registered a save. That does not include any moves that might be made today after press time of these notes. Only three men – Dan Johnson, Jim Miller and Bobby Wilson have been active RailRiders from Opening Day to date without interruption.
Moosic, Pa. – Corey Patterson celebrated his birthday in style as he helped lead the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders (Triple-A/New York Yankees) to a 7-1 rout of the Charlotte Knights (Chicago White Sox) on Tuesday night. Patterson recorded three hits, including his fourth home run of the season. He added two singles, a stolen base, and two runs scored on the day he turned 34.
It was Charlotte who took an early lead, as they scored one run in the first. Marcus Semien drew a walk to start the inning, and moved to third on a single by Steve Tolleson. Tolleson was thrown out at second base trying to steal, and SWB starter Caleb Cotham got Brent Morel to groundout. With two down, and Travis Ishikawa down to just one strike, Cotham was called for a balk which allowed Semien to score. Cotham struck out Ishikawa on the very next pitch to end the frame.
That would be it for Charlotte’s offense, and the RailRiders grabbed the lead with a pair of runs in the bottom of the first. Patterson led off with a single to center field, and proceeded to steal second base. J.R. Murphy reached on an error that moved Patterson to third, and he scored when Melky Mesa legged out a fielder’s choice. After Dan Johnson reached on a fielder’s choice, Randy Ruiz doubled him home from first base.
SWB added another run in the fourth. With one out, Brent Lillibridge was hit by a pitch. Brendan Harris then knocked a base hit to move him to second, and he later scored on Murphy’s single to left field. Lillibridge would leave the game following the inning.
Two more runs were tacked on for the RailRiders in the seventh. Patterson hit a one-out home run, his fourth of the year, to start the scoring. Murphy followed with a home run of his own to make it 5-1 in favor of SWB. It was the fourth time SWB had gone back-to-back this season, and the first since July 7 when Patterson and Addison Maruszak combined for the feat.
The game’s scoring was capped in the eighth. Ruiz led off with a ground-rule double to left-center field, and scored when David Adams followed with a double down the right-field line. Adams scored on a single by Ronnier Mustelier, which gave the game its final margin of 7-1.
Cotham (5-5) worked five innings, and allowed just the one run that scored on the balk. It was Cotham’s sixth straight outing where he did not allow more than three runs. It also marks his second consecutive win, as the RailRiders improved to 7-6 when Cotham starts. Sam Demel recorded the final five outs to pick-up his third save of the season.
Charlotte starter Erik Johnson (2-1) started the game for Charlotte and allowed three runs (two earned) on five hits in six innings. The bullpen allowed four runs over just two innings.
The RailRiders and Knights will play game two of their four-game set Wednesday night at PNC Field. Chris Bootcheck (9-6, 3.90) will go for win number 10, and will be opposed by right-hander Jason Berken (10-11, 4.04). As always on Wednesday night games, kids 12 and under eat free. First pitch is set for 7:05 p.m., and gates will open at 6 p.m. at PNC Field.
- SWB RailRiders – All Aboard! -
Moosic, Pa. – For a second consecutive game, the Buffalo Bisons (Triple-A/Toronto Blue Jays) built an early lead and survived a late rally by the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders (New York Yankees) to win, 8-5. The RailRiders scored three runs in the seventh and two in the ninth, but fell three runs short on Sunday afternoon at PNC Field.
Buffalo raced out to a 2-0 lead in the third. Mike McCoy led off with a walk, and moved to third on a base hit by Anthony Gose. Following a stolen base by Gose, Kevin Pillar hit a triple to right field to clear the bases and put the Bisons in front.
A four-run fourth inning gave the Bisons a bit of breathing room. With one out, Andy LaRoche singled to left field, Following a base hit by Jim Negrych, Sean Ochinko walked to load the bases. Ryan Goins then knocked a base hit to move each runner up 90-feet and plate LaRoche. McCoy drew a walk to advance home Negrych, and Pillar capped the frame with a double down the left-field line to score both Ochinko and Goins. Buffalo led 6-0 after four innings.
A big swing put the RailRiders on the board in the seventh. Brendan Harris led off with a single, and J.R. Murphy later walked. Melky Mesa followed with a home run to left-center field, and it cut the lead in half.
Buffalo would pull two of those runs back in the eighth and ninth. Doubles by Moises Sierra and Ochinko plated a run in the eighth and ninth innings respectively.
Scranton/Wilkes-Barre made things interesting with two runs in the ninth. Mesa began the rally with a single, and two outs later, moved to second on a base hit by Ronnier Mustelier. A balk put both runners in scoring position, and Brent Lillibridge delivered a two-run single to center field. The two-out rally was not enough in the 8-5 loss.
Former RailRider Chien-Ming Wang (7-7) tossed six shutout innings to earn the win. He struck out five, and issued three walks while lowering his season earned run average to 2.71.
David Huff (4-7) allowed six runs on nine hits over five and one-third innings to get the loss.
The RailRiders will take Monday off, but will return to action at PNC Field on Tuesday night. They’ll open a four-game series with the Charlotte Knights (Chicago White Sox). The game is just the third of an eight-game homestand that lasts through Sunday, Aug. 18. Tickets for all games can be purchased by calling (570)969-BALL (2255), by visiting swbrailriders.com, or by visiting the box office at PNC Field.
- SWB RailRiders – All Aboard! -
Moosic, Pa. – The Buffalo Bisons (Triple-A/Toronto Blue Jays) built an early lead and survived a late rally by the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders (New York Yankees) to win on Saturday night, 6-2. It was the opener of an eight-game homestand at PNC Field, which continues through Sunday, Aug. 18.
A familiar foe helped put the Bisons in front as they scored three in the third. Mike McCoy drew a walk to start the inning, and proceeded to steal second base. One out later, Kevin Pillar singled to left to drive home McCoy. Later in the inning, Moises Sierra hit a two-run home run to left field to put the Bisons in front, 3-0. It was Sierra’s fourth home run against the RailRiders.
Back-to-back doubles put the RailRiders on the board in the bottom of the fourth. Melky Mesa led off with a double to the left-field corner. J.R. Murphy followed with a double of his own to left, and it drove home Mesa.
Buffalo added a run in the fifth. Anthony Gose doubled to left field, and then stole third base. He scored when Ricardo Nanita doubled to right-center field.
Two late runs helped add to the Buffalo lead. McCoy drew another walk to start the seventh, and stole second base. Following a base hit by Gose, Pillar singled to left field to advance McCoy home. In the ninth, McCoy was aboard again, and Pillar doubled him for this third run batted in of the game.
The RailRiders would not quit, but the rally in the ninth fell short. Adonis Garcia began it with a double, and three consecutive walks to Dan Johnson, Randy Ruiz, and Ronnier Mustelier brought a run home and loaded the bases. That brought the tying run to the plate with nobody out, but the 6-2 mark held up as SWB would get no closer.
Justin Germano (8-8) stifled the SWB offense over eight innings, fanning eight batters without a walk.
The RailRiders and Bisons will wrap-up their 2013 regular season series on Sunday afternoon at PNC Field. SWB will need a win to clinch the victory in the series, as they’ve won eight games to Buffalo’s seven. First pitch is scheduled for 1:05 p.m. on a Family FUNday presented by the NEPA Honda dealers. Left-hander David Huff (4-6, 3.52) will get the start for SWB, while former RailRider Chien-Ming Wang (6-7, 2.88) will go for the Bisons. The game is just the second in an eight-game homestand that lasts through Sunday, Aug. 18. Tickets for all games can be purchased by calling (570)969-BALL (2255), by visiting swbrailriders.com, or by visiting the box office at PNC Field.
- SWB RailRiders – All Aboard! -
Buffalo, N.Y. – The Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders (Triple-A/New York Yankees) used a grand slam from Melky Mesa and a strong starting performance from Brett Marshall to defeat the Buffalo Bisons (Toronto Blue Jays) on Friday night, 7-3. Mesa joins Cody Grice as the only two SWB players to hit a grand slam this season.
Marshall (6-9) allowed just two hits over his six scoreless frames, and struck out six batters. While he issued three walks, Marshall induced seven groundouts and only two fly outs.
Scranton/Wilkes-Barre wasted no time in jumping out to a big lead, as they scored five runs in the second. Dan Johnson led off the frame with a double, and Randy Ruiz was then hit by a pitch to put runners at first and second. Two outs later, Bobby Wilson singled to left field to drive home Johnson and move Ruiz to second. Brendan Harris was then hit by a pitch to load the bases. That setup Mesa, who slammed a Drew Hutchison pitch over the center field wall for a grand slam. The RailRiders led 5-0 after the top of the second.
The offense would not let up as SWB added another in the third. Adonis Garcia started the inning with a single to left-center field, which snapped a 0-15 streak. Johnson followed with a double down the left-field line, and Garcia scored all the way from first base. It was 6-0 after just two and a half innings of play.
Buffalo got on the board with one run in the seventh. Moises Sierra led off with a single, and moved to second base on a wild pitch. Andy LaRoche then doubled to plate Sierra and cut the deficit to 6-1.
The lead was cut further when the Bisons scored two in the eighth. Anthony Gose hit a one-out triple, and scored on a single by Luis Jimenez. After a hit by Sierra moved Jimenez to second, Ryan Goins recorded a base hit that drove home Jimenez. LaRoche batted as the tying run, but he popped out to Wilson to end the inning.
The RailRiders added an insurance run in the top of the ninth. Alberto Gonzalez hit a one-out single, and would later come around to score when Mesa singled him home. Mesa finished the game with three hits and five runs batted in.
Hutchison (0-1) was making a rehab start, and took the loss. He allowed six runs over three and two-thirds innings.
The RailRiders now return home to PNC Field to open up an eight-game homestand. It begins on Saturday night, as SWB will welcome in the Bisons on Magic Night. The first 2,500 fans will receive a Houdini Paperweight courtesy of Geico Scranton. It’s also a bonus postgame fireworks show presented by Jack Williams and Tire & Auto. First pitch is set for 7:05 p.m. Tickets are available by calling (570)969-BALL (2255), by logging on to swbrailriders.com, or by visiting the PNC Field Box office.
- SWB RailRiders – All Aboard! -
LET’S NOT PLAY TWO PLEASE: The Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders were swept in a doubleheader by the Buffalo Bisons on Thursday night. The Bisons took game one, 5-2. Moises Sierra went 3-3 for Buffalo, and homered twice as he factored in each run scored. Corey Patterson homered to tie the game at two in the fifth, but it would be the last time SWB would score. In game two, the Bisons edged out the RailRiders, 2-1. Randy Ruiz hit a home run to give the RailRiders an early lead, but Andy LaRoche singled home two runs in the fourth to put Buffalo ahead for good.
FIT FOR WHITLEY: The RailRiders sent out reliever Chase Whitley to start game two, and it marked Whitley’s first start since Sept. 1 of last season, when he tossed four scoreless frames against Pawtucket. While he did not quite go that long, Whitley pitched into the fourth and struck out four batters. His lone run was conceded by the bullpen, and he finished the game with a no-decision.
WELCOME BACK TO SWB: The Scranton/Wilkes-Barre offense received a big boost before Thursday’s doubleheader. Brent Lillibridge had cleared waivers, and re-joined the RailRiders after being outrighted from the New York Yankees. Lillibridge batted .171 (6-35) in 11 games with the Yankees from July 19-August 4. He was designated for assignment to make room on the active and 40-man rosters for Alex Rodriguez. Before his call-up to New York, Lillibridge batted .341 (28-82) with seven home runs and 15 RBIs in 25 games with the RailRiders. SWB went 16-7 in those 23 games. His return to the lineup last night featured a base hit in game one, but he went 1-7 with a stolen base for the night.
PINEDA TO THE DL: To make room for Lillibridge on SWB’s active roster, right-hander Michael Pineda was placed on the disabled list retroactive to Aug. 6. Pineda has shown the flashes of brilliance that made him an American League All-Star in his rookie season in 2011 with the Seattle Mariners. He was 1-1 with a 3.86 ERA in six starts, and struck out 26 batters in 23.1 innings of work.
TURN THE POWER BACK ON: The longest home run drought of Randy Ruiz’s RailRider career came to an end last night. In game two, he blasted a Bobby Korecky pitch over the center field fence for his 15th round tripper in a SWB uniform this season. It was Ruiz’s first homer since July 28 at Louisville, and it keeps him within shouting distance of Dan Johnson’s team-leading 20 dingers.
SNAPPED OUT OF IT: With his home run and two-hit performance in game one of last night’s DH, Corey Patterson hopes he has ended his slump. Entering last night’s games, Patterson was hitless in his last 22 at-bats, and saw his batting average fall to .173, its lowest point since Patterson joined SWB in June. The round tripper was Patterson’s first since July 7 at PNC Field against Lehigh Valley.
BIRTHDAY BOY: While last night wasn’t exactly a party, Ronnier Mustelier celebrated his 29th home run. He started in game one at third base, and made two great defensive plays. However, “Musty” struggled at the plate, striking out all three times. He fared much better in game two, and made a highlight reel catch in left field by leaping and slamming into the wall. He also went 1-3 at the dish.
UNUSUAL FOR ZAGURSKI: Left-hander Mike Zagurski replaced Whitley last night in game two, and was very unlike himself. He struggled with his command, as he walked two batters and hit Sierra on the foot. Zagurski threw 37 pitches, but 19 of them were out of the zone. He ended up working two and two-thirds innings, and issued two walks. He also allowed the go-ahead single by LaRoche that plated two runs. It was the first time Zagurski has conceded a run in an outing since July 11 against Syracuse, which was also the last time he walked more than one batter. He’s only walked nine in 22.1 innings pitched.
Buffalo, N.Y. – The Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders (Triple-A/New York Yankees) dropped a doubleheader on Thursday night to the Buffalo Bisons (Toronto Blue Jays). Buffalo took game one, 5-2, and rallied to the victory in game two, 2-1. Despite the losses, the RailRiders hold a 12-4 record in doubleheaders this season.
Moises Sierra had a monster game in game one and put the Bisons in the lead early on. After Ryan Goins drew a two-out walk off of SWB starter Chris Bootcheck, Sierra homered to center field to give the Bisons an early 2-0 lead.
Scranton/Wilkes-Barre would trim one run off the deficit in the fourth. J.R. Murphy led off with a double to left field, and then moved to third on a groundout by Adonis Garcia. Dan Johnson then hit a hard grounder up the middle, and it was mishandled by the shortstop Goins, and the play allowed Murphy to score from third base.
Corey Patterson snapped out of a slump and tied the game in the fifth when he led off the frame with a home run to right field. It was Patterson’s third as a RailRider.
Buffalo quickly untied it in the fifth, as Sierra led off with a single and would later come around to score on a double by Sean Ochinko.
Sierra capped his game one performance with another home run in the sixth. With Goins aboard at first base after a fielder’s choice, Sierra homered to left field for his eight of the season, and it gave game one its final margin of 5-2.
Thad Weber (6-4) went the distance for Buffalo, and tossed all seven innings while allowing just two runs. He also struck out seven and issued two walks.
Bootcheck (9-6) also went the complete game. He allowed five runs on seven hits in the loss.
Game two was a bullpen game for both clubs, but offense was hard to come by. Randy Ruiz got the RailRiders off to a fast start by slamming his 15th homer of the season to center field in the second. It was his first since July 28, and it gave SWB the 1-0 lead.
Buffalo erased the deficit and took the lead in the fourth. Kevin Pillar started the rally with a base hit, and he moved to second when Sierra was hit by a pitch. A wild pitch moved the runners to second and third, and Andy LaRoche followed with a two-run single that scored both Buffalo runs.
John Stilson (4-2) worked an inning and one-third to get the win out of the bullpen for the Bisons. Starter Bobby Korecky went four and two-thirds, and allowed the Ruiz home run.
Mike Zagurski (5-2) allowed one run on four hits in two and two-thirds innings, and he picked up the loss. Chase Whitley started the game for SWB and pitched into the fourth.
The RailRiders will look to avoid the sweep on Friday night as they send Brett Marshall (5-9, 5.45) to the mound. First pitch is set for 7:05 p.m. and pre-game action on NEPA Sports Radio – The GAME gets underway at 6:35 p.m. SWB returns to PNC Field on Saturday, when they welcome in these same Bisons to open up an eight-game homestand.
- SWB RailRiders – All Aboard! -
MORE DOUBLEHEADER FUN: The Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders and Buffalo Bisons were first scheduled to meet on April 11 in Buffalo, but three consecutive rainouts forced the teams to play catch-up the rest of the season. The makeup games end tonight, as the two squads will play a twin bill at Coca-Cola Field. SWB owns a 14-6 record in doubleheaders, which is five wins better than Buffalo for the league lead.
LAST TIME OUT: The RailRiders and Bisons last met right before the All-Star break in mid-July. Scranton/Wilkes-Barre took two of three games, including a doubleheader sweep on July 13. Tonight’s starter, Chris Bootcheck, got the win for the RailRiders in game one, while Mike Zagurski proved victorious in game two. Buffalo bested SWB in the finale, as Ricky Romero earned his second win in a Bisons uniform. The RailRiders own the series advantage over Buffalo, 7-4.
GOODBYES ARE THE HARDEST: Last night, the RailRiders said goodbye to the Syracuse Chiefs on their 2013 regular season schedule, and SWB did so in winning fashion in a 7-2 decision. Caleb Cotham produced his second consecutive outstanding start, as he tied his season-high with seven innings tossed and allowed just two solo homers his final inning of work. The offense scored in five different innings, including a three spot in the top of the fifth inning.
TWICE IS NICE FOR DAN THE MAN: After a slow start to his season, Dan Johnson has found his swing, and that trend continued last night. Johnson hit two home runs, the first a two-run blast in the fifth, and the second a line-drive homer in the seventh. It was the first time Johnson has homered twice this season, and the first time he has homered more than once in a game since October 3, 2012, when he homered three times against the Cleveland Indians as a member of the Chicago White Sox. He became the fifth different RailRider to hit more than one dinger in a game, and the first since Fernando Martinez did so in Pawtucket on June 29.
MESA THE FRONT MAN: Since his return to SWB from the Yankees on Saturday, Melky Mesa has recorded three hits, three RBIs, and three runs scored. The move back to Triple-A has also meant a lineup swtich for Mesa, who has batted in the lead-off spot since his return. Mesa went 2-4 last night in Syracuse, and doubled twice while scoring a pair of runs. While the sample size is small, Mesa is hitting .242 (8-33) in eight games when batting first.
HOLD THE RUNS PLEASE: For the first time this season, Dellin Betances’ earned run average sits below three, as he enters today’s doubleheader with a 2.97 mark. The reason has been his move to the bullpen. Since his first relief appearance on May 10, Betances’ ERA has dropped two and a half points. The towering right-hander hasn’t allowed a run since June 16 in Lehigh Valley, and sports a 1.48 ERA as a reliever. His 63 strikeouts in 48.2 innings and .169 opponent batting average indicate Betances just may have found a future big league home in the ‘pen.
RETURN TO THE LINEUP: Last night marked the return to the lineup for super utility man, Addison Maruszak. While it did not go well for Maruszak at the plate, he played third base for just the 14th time last season, as he continues to see a lot of time at multiple positions. Maruszak went 0-4 at the dish, but when he hit the DL on July 12, he was batting .269 after a .337 (32-95) mark in June.
NOT JUST A SLICK FIELDER: With a base hit last night, defensive wizard Alberto Gonzalez has recorded hits in five of the six games this month. Not included in that sample is his game-winning base hit in the resumption of the suspended game on Tuesday, which actually counts for July 12. Gonzalez owns SWB’s best fielding percentages at shortstop and third base, and he’s tied for the best percentage at second base.
Syracuse, N.Y. – Dan Johnson homered twice and Caleb Cotham tossed seven strong innings to help lead the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders (Triple-A/New York Yankees) to a 7-2 victory over the Syracuse Chiefs (Washington Nationals). The two home runs give Johnson 20 for the season, as the RailRiders closed out their season series against the Chiefs with a 10-6 record.
Cotham (4-5) scattered eight hits over his seven innings of work. He was incredibly pitch efficient, tossing just 77. He did not walk a batter and threw just 20 pitches outside of the strike zone.
The RailRiders got off to a fast start with a run in the top of the first inning. Melky Mesa led the game off with a walk, and moved to second when J.R. Murphy drew a free pass. Two outs later, Randy Ruiz singled through the right side to drive home Mesa and give SWB the early lead.
Another run was added in the top of the fourth. Johnson led off with a base hit, and he moved to third base on two consecutive wild pitches. Ronnier Mustelier fouled off multiple pay-off pitches from Danny Rosenbaum, and he drove a single to left field to plate Johnson.
SWB broke the game open in the fifth. Mesa led off with a double to the left-field corner. Following a walk to Murphy, Adonis Garcia reached on a fielder’s choice. Second baseman Danny Espinosa tried to convert the double play, but the ball popped out of his glove and got away from him, which allowed Mesa to score. Johnson then hit a towering home run to right field that drove home Garcia to put the RailRiders in front, 5-0.
Alberto Gonzalez led off the sixth inning with a single to center field. He later moved to second on a wild pitch, and scored when Mesa doubled to right field.
The scoring for SWB was capped in the seventh when Johnson hit his second home run of the game. With one out, he smacked a line-drive homer over the right field fence to extend the RailRider lead to 7-0. It was Johnson’s 20th home run of the season, which places him seventh in the International League.
Syracuse would score two runs in the bottom of the seventh on solo home runs by Tyler Moore and Zach Walters.
Rosenbaum (6-8) was handed the loss after allowing two runs on three hits in four innings. He walked four batters before his exit. The Chiefs bullpen conceded five of the runs, including the two Johnson home runs. SWB’s Dellin Betances worked the final two innings, and struck out three.
The RailRiders now embark on the second-half of their road trip when they travel to Buffalo, N.Y. SWB will take on the Bisons (Toronto Blue Jays) beginning on Thursday night with a doubleheader. First pitch is slated for 5:30 p.m., and Chris Bootcheck (9-5, 3.70) will get the start in game one for SWB. Pre-game coverage will get underway at 5:00 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! -