PICKET FENCE: Single scores in five of the game’s first six innings let Lehigh Valley leap out to a 5-0 lead en route to a 5-1 loss for the RailRiders last night.
DAN THE MAN: The lone SWB score came courtesy of a Dan Johnson home run, his team-leading 18th of the year. It came on a 3-for-3 night with a walk to boot. Johnson suffered through a 6-for-57 (.105) slump from July 9-26 that lowered his average by 23 points (.253-.232). Since then, he has gone 13-for-32 (.406) over his last eight games with six extra-base hits and six RBIs. He has hit safely in six straight including homers in each of his last two. The team’s leader in taters and RBIs (58) has the IL’s second-highest walk total (74), one that places him in the top 10 of all the minors (T-9th).
FALLING BEHIND: With Rochester’s stunning surprise of Syracuse last night, the RailRiders have lost more ground. The Red Wings answered a five-spot with the same in the 10th thanks to a Chris Clement two-out game-tying grand slam en route to a 7-6 win in 12 innings. SWB stands 7.0 games out in the IL North and in fifth place. The club has not been more than 7.0 games back since it turned a 14.5-game deficit on June 28 into a 5.0-game hole on July 14. Three of the five teams in front of the RailRiders in the wild-card chase claimed victory last night, as did the two teams just 1.0 and 2.0 games back of them.
GREEK GOD: Adonis Garcia went 0-for-4 with a strikeout and a groundball double play as the team’s three-hole hitter last night, snapping the team’s then-longest active hitting streak at nine games. It marks just the third time in 23 games with SWB that the Cuban defector has gone hitless.
C.C.: Southpaw Cesar Cabral joined the team from Double-A Trenton yesterday and enjoyed a sensational Triple-A debut. He retired all four batters he faced, whiffing three of them, and delivering strikes with 10 of his 15 pitches. An international free agent signee by Boston in July 2005, he was twice taken in the Rule 5 draft (Tampa Bay, 2010; Kansas City, 2011). The Royals traded him to the Yankees for cash, but after challenging for a bullpen spot with the Yanks, he missed last season with injury (stress fracture/left elbow). Cabral had hurled at two levels this season, working in relief for Advanced-A Tampa (5G, 0-0-0/0, 2.75) and Double-A Trenton (15G, 1-0-0/1, 5.49).
DEMEL DOMINATION: Before Cabral closed things out, Sam Demel bridged the way with one of his better showings of the season. Demel struck out the first four he faced during 1.2 innings of his own perfect baseball. He was also in the zone exceedingly often, firing 13 of his 17 pitches for a strike.
IRONRAIL TROPHY: On June 13, the RailRiders and IronPigs announced that they will be playing for the “IronRail Trophy”. The 16-game series between the RailRiders and IronPigs will decide the winner. The loser will sing in a fat lady costume on the winner’s field, and a feast will be paid for by the losing team as well. The trophy will be held by the winning team, displayed for all to see. Last night tipped the 2013 series to the ‘Pigs, 4-3. Scranton/Wilkes-Barre owns a 51-36 lead in the all-time series dating back to Lehigh Valley’s inaugural 2008 season. The two clubs split the season series in 2012. In the event of future 8-8 ties, the club that wins the final regular-season meeting will also claim the IronRail Trophy.
THE MELK MAN: Earlier today, Melky Mesa reported to SWB after being optioned down by the Yankees. He saw time in five games during his recent stay with the Bombers, he hit .385 (5-for-13) with two doubles, an RBI and two runs scored. He has not played for the RailRiders since July 19 versus Louisville. Today, he is set to lead off for the sixth time this season. He has an OBP of .304 as the leadoff man, but just .277 overall thanks to seven total walks.
Moosic, Pa. – The Lehigh Valley IronPigs (Triple-A/Philadelphia Phillies) scored in five of the first six innings to defeat the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders (New York Yankees) on Saturday night, 5-1. The RailRiders got superb pitching from their bullpen, who struck out seven of the nine batters they faced.
Early on it was the home run that cost SWB. With one out in the top of the first, Freddy Galvis slammed a home run over the Budweiser RailHouse in right field to give the IronPigs an early 1-0 lead. It was Galvis’ third home run of the season with Lehigh Valley. The IronPigs hit another solo homer in the third; it was a lead-off homer from Tyson Gillies. Gillies’ third as an IronPig made it 2-0.
Josh Fields led off the fourth inning with a base hit. Cody Overbeck then hit a ground-rule double over the left-center field fence to move Fields to third base. Pete Orr delivered with a run-scoring single through the left side.
The IronPigs continued to score in small sizes in the fifth. Derrick Mitchell drew a walk, moved to second on a single by Galvis, and then to third on a fielder’s choice. He scored on a passed ball to stretch the Lehigh Valley advantage to 4-0. That was extended to five as the IronPigs scored their final run in the sixth. Tyler Henson reached on an error and later scored on a double by Steve Lerud.
The lone RailRider run came in the bottom of the sixth. With two outs, Dan Johnson clubbed a home run to right field to cut the lead to 5-1. It was Johnson’s team-leading 18th home run of the season, as Johnson stretched his current hitting streak to six games.
IronPigs starter Tyler Cloyd (4-8) worked efficiently and tossed seven innings. He allowed just one run on six hits, and struck out seven in the win. B.J. Rosenberg pitched the final two innings out of the Lehigh Valley bullpen.
Chris Bootcheck (9-5) started the contest for SWB and took the loss. He allowed five runs, only three of them earned, on nine hits over six frames. Sam Demel and Cesar Cabral worked the final three innings, and combined to strikeout seven of the nine batters they faced.
The RailRiders and IronPigs will wrap-up their short two-game series at PNC Field on Sunday afternoon. It’s Family Funday presented by NEPA Honda, and gates will open up at Noon for a 1:05 p.m. first pitch. Prospect right-hander Brett Marshall (5-8, 5.13) will take the mound for Scranton/Wilkes-Barre as he looks to build on his great month of July. He’ll be opposed by David Buchanan, who will make his first start for Lehigh Valley since being promoted from Double-A.
- SWB RailRiders – All Aboard! -
Indianapolis, Ind. – A two-run double by Darren Ford in the fifth inning erased an advantage by the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders (Triple-A/New York Yankees) as the Indianapolis Indians (Pittsburgh Pirates) defeated SWB on Friday night, 3-2. The RailRiders won the first three games of their eight-game road trip, but finished the trip with a 4-4 record.
Things did not get off to a good start for Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, as Indianapolis took an early lead in the third. Ivan DeJesus Jr. led off with a base hit, and then moved to second on a wild pitch. Ford then laid down a bunt single, and Chase d’Arnaud grounded out to drive home DeJesus Jr.
A big swing of the bat tied the game for the RailRiders in the fourth. Dan Johnson led off the frame with a solo homer to right-center field, as it bounced halfway up the lawn area at Victory Field. It was Johnson’s team-leading 17th home run of the season, and it tied the contest at one.
SWB took a 2-1 lead in the fifth. With one out, Alberto Gonzalez blooped a single to right field. A balk by David Bromberg moved him to second, and David Adams later singled to center field to drive Gonzalez home. It was the second consecutive game Adams had plated Gonzalez.
The lead would not last long, as the Indians took the lead for good in the bottom of the fifth. With one out, Ali Solis singled to right field. DeJesus. Jr. then doubled down the left-field line, as it moved Solis to third base. Ford followed with a double off the wall in left, and it drove home both Solis and DeJesus Jr.
Bromberg (1-1) allowed just two runs in five and two-thirds innings en route to the win. He walked one batter, and struck out four. Ryan Reid worked the final two innings to earn his second save of the season.
SWB starter Michael Pineda only went two innings, and did not factor into the decision. Chase Whitley (2-2) relieved him, and picked up the loss. He allowed three runs in two and one-third innings.
The RailRiders will now return home to PNC Field to renew their rivalry with the Lehigh Valley IronPigs (Philadelphia Phillies) in the IronRail series. The first 2,500 fans through the gates on Saturday will receive a RailRider aluminum water bottle. Gates will open up at 6 p.m., and first pitch is set for 7:05 p.m. Chris Bootcheck (9-4, 3.65) will take the mound for SWB, and the game will be broadcast live on television on MyNetwork TV, and on radio on NEPA Sports Radio – The GAME.
- SWB RailRiders – All Aboard! -
DIRTY DOZEN: Blanked through eight, the RailRiders plated a tying tally in the ninth on a wild pitch and pushed ahead for a 2-1 defeat of Indianapolis in the 12th last night. The win snapped a three-game losing streak and gave SWB a chance at a winning road trip should it triumph tonight.
RALLY ‘RIDERS: Entering last night, 13 of the IL’s 14 teams had won at least once when trailing after both seven and eight innings. The lone exception was SWB which was 0-43 when down following seven frames and 0-44 when behind after eight.
UP & ADAM: David Adams was 1-for-11 on the road trip before he posted three base hits on Thursday. That included the eventual game-winning blow when his single in the 12th scored Alberto Gonzalez from second base.
SENT FROM ABOVE: Since coming back from the bigs, All-Star outfielder Thomas Neal has gone 11-for-26 (.423). Before this modest surge, Neal had not logged a hit since July 12. He was 0-for-9 in games before and after the All-Star break and spent a week in the big leagues without seeing game action thereafter. Neal’s night sported a bunt single in the ninth. It moved J.R. Murphy, who had doubled to begin the inning, to third with nobody out. Duke Welker then issued a wild pitch, enabling Murphy to race home and tie the game.
ON THE LAMB: Murphy’s double came on one of the plays of the year when Indians right fielder Andrew Lambo crashed through the right-field wall in pursuit. Despite the violent crash, Lambo stayed in the game.
MULTIPLICITY: Adams was far from the only RailRider to enjoy a solid night at the plate. Ronnier Mustelier, Dan Johnson and Neal all posted multi-hit performances. Mustelier had been 1-for-23 against the Indians before his 2-for-6 evening.
EXTRA, EXTRA!: The RailRiders’ 11th extra-inning game of the season was their fifth such win. It came a week to the day from SWB’s franchise-record 20-inning triumph over Toledo that took five hours and 26 minutes to complete. Five of the RailRiders’ last 13 games since July 20 have required bonus baseball. During that time, the team has played 19 extra innings.
BULLISH ‘PEN: Since Yoshinori Tateyama allowed three runs in the 10th inning in a 4-1 loss to Toledo on July 23, the RailRiders’ bullpen has dominated. Over a stretch of 10 games and 43.2 innings, SWB’s relievers have allowed just 26 hits and four runs (0.82 ERA). They have also collected 53 strikeouts (10.9/9 IP) against 17 walks (3.12:1 K:BB ratio). Last night, Josh Spence, Dellin Betances, Mike Zagurski and Jim Miller combined on six scoreless innings of two-hit ball. They also allowed just one of five inherited runners to score.
OFF THE RAILS: SWB starter Caleb Cotham needed just 57 pitches (43 strikes) to navigate six-plus innings of one-run, two-hit baseball…In two starts against the Indians this season, Cotham has posted a 1.69 ERA…Betances logged 2.1 scoreless innings…He has not allowed a run in 27.1 innings and 15 appearances since suffering a walk-off setback at Lehigh Valley on June 16…Zagurski did not allow a run or a hit for the fifth straight outing, a span of seven frames…Adonis Garcia ran the team’s best active hitting streak to eight games…He has hit safely in all but two of his 21 games as a RailRider…The RailRiders have hit just .193 against the Indians this season, scoring nine runs in their seven meetings…Indianapolis has posted a 0.94 ERA in the season series with no home runs allowed over 67 innings…The RailRiders have hit more homers (104) than any IL squad other than Buffalo (107).
Indianapolis, Ind. – A dominant start from Caleb Cotham wasn’t enough to keep the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders (Triple-A/New York Yankees) from going into extra innings on Thursday night, but they did prevail with a 2-1 win over the Indianapolis Indians (Pittsburgh Pirates) in 12 innings. Cotham pitched into the seventh as David Adams drove home the go-ahead run.
The 12th inning began when Alberto Gonzalez hit a slow groundball up the middle. Second baseman Chase d’Arnaud got to it, but wasn’t able to make a throw to first base. Adonis Garcia laid down a sacrifice bunt to move Gonzalez to second base, and Adams followed with a base hit to right field that scored Gonzalez and put the RailRiders in front, 2-1.
Cotham needed just 57 pitches to work into the seventh, as he completed six innings but allowed to base hits to start the seventh, and then was taken out. He conceded just one run on four hits, and struck out three without issuing a free pass. His lone run scored after he exited the ballgame.
Indianapolis scored that single run off Cotham in the seventh. The inning began with singles by d’Arnaud and Matt Hague. Cotham was relieved in favor of Josh Spence, who then struck out Andrew Lambo. Dellin Betances was brought into the ballgame with runners on the corners, and Russ Canzler hit a sacrifice fly to right field to score d’Arnaud and put the Indians in front, 1-0.
The RailRiders would tie the game in the top of the ninth. J.R. Murphy led off with a fly ball to right field. Lambo sprinted after it, and crashed through the wall. The play resulted in Murphy being awarded second base on the ground-rule double. He advanced to third base when Thomas Neal laid down a bunt single, and then scored on a wild pitch from Duke Welker.
The Scranton/Wilkes-Barre bullpen did allow an inherited runner to score, but they were solid over six frames in support of Cotham. Jim Miller (2-5) entered the game in the 11th and earned the win. He struck out Canzler to end the game.
Indianapolis starter Kris Johnson entered Thursday with the best earned run average in the International League, and did not allow a run over seven frames. Atahualpa Severino (0-3) tossed three innings out of the Indians bullpen, but was handed the loss.
The RailRiders will go for a winning road trip when they wrap-up the journey and their series with Indianapolis on Friday night. A unique first pitch time of 7:15 p.m. awaits them, as Michael Pineda (1-1, 4.22) will take the mound for SWB. Pre-game coverage gets underway at 6:45 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! -
LAST TIME OUT: For the third time in as many days, the RailRiders outhit their foes, but fell by a narrow margin. On Wednesday afternoon, home runs carried the host Indianapolis Indians to a 3-1 defeat of SWB. The RailRiders have lost three in a row for a .500 showing through six games on their eight-game road trip.
ON SCHEDULE: Today, the RailRiders announced their 2014 regular-season schedule. The season begins on Thursday, April 3 when the club kicks off a seven-game road trip at Syracuse against the Chiefs (Washington Nationals). The home slate commences a week later on Thursday, April 10 when the Chiefs visit PNC Field for a four-game series and homestand. Rivalry games fill a big portion of the 2014 schedule as Scranton/Wilkes-Barre will play a total of 16 games against its two biggest rivals. The RailRiders will host the Lehigh Valley IronPigs (Philadelphia Phillies) for year two of the IronRail Series at PNC Field with games from April 18-21, June 30-July 1 and Aug. 31-Sept. 1. The Pawtucket Red Sox (Boston Red Sox) will come to PNC Field twice for series from June 20-23 and July 25-28. The RailRiders will release the full promotional calendar including giveaway dates, theme nights and more for the 2014 season at PNC Field at a later date.
SIMPSON SIR, SECTOR 7G: Home runs were a rarity in several ways for the pieces involved in yesterday’s round-tripper puzzle. Starter David Huff suffered the loss thanks to just three runs allowed in seven innings of work. All three came courtesy of the long ball. Huff, who had allowed two homers on the season, surrendered a pair on the day. The first was bashed by Lucas May, who was hitting .200 even with just one home run in 39 games played on the season entering play. Conversely, Indianapolis starter Graham Godfrey began the day with a 1-2 record and a 7.29 ERA in five home appearances (four starts). In just 21 innings at Victory Field, he had allowed eight home runs while the league hit .318 against him. He fired six scoreless innings of four-hit ball to earn his eighth win. SWB had not surrendered a dinger in a season-high seven straight games until May and Andrew Lambo went yard yesterday. The last homer had come when Toledo’s Nick Castellanos took Chris Bootcheck deep on July 23 in a doubleheader nightcap.
BULLISH ‘PEN: Since Yoshinori Tateyama allowed three runs in the 10th inning in a 4-1 loss to Toledo on July 23, the RailRiders’ bullpen has dominated. Over a stretch of nine games and 37.2 innings, SWB’s relievers have allowed just 24 hits and four runs (0.96 ERA). They have also collected 49 strikeouts (11.7/9 IP) against 16 walks (3.06:1 K:BB ratio).
JUMPING JULY: The RailRiders, for now, own a 15-13 record in July. A suspended game from July 12 against Syracuse will be completed on Tuesday. No matter how that 2-2 draw through 11 innings plays out, SWB is still guaranteed a winning record in July. Only five other IL teams can join in that claim. Only Columbus (2.54) and Durham (2.73) posted a better ERA on the month than SWB (2.92). The RailRiders led the league with 30 homers on the month. Half of the league failed to hit 20.
RANDY DANDY: Randy Ruiz singled to spark his team’s run-scoring rally in the ninth that stalled Indianapolis’ bid for a shutout. The single extended Ruiz’s hitting streak to eight games. His 14 homers have him within two of the team’s leader in that category, Dan Johnson. Johnson has hit his 16 blasts in 107 games and 369 at-bats. Ruiz has amassed his gaudy total in just 43 games and 170 at-bats. If he had enough plate appearances to qualify, Ruiz would lead the league in home run to at-bat ratio (1:12.14). The league’s overall home run leader with 28, Buffalo’s Mauro Gomez, the reigning IL MVP, paces the loop with his 1:12.57 ratio. Ruiz has three of his homers during his hitting streak in which he is connecting at a .410 rate (16-for-39) with seven extra-base hits in total. He has excelled against left-handed pitching (.348/.388/.761/1.149) and on the road (.373/.388/.639/1.027).
SENT FROM ABOVE: Since coming back from the bigs, All-Star outfielder Thomas Neal has gone 8-for-21 (.381). Before this modest surge, Neal had not logged a hit since July 12. He was 0-for-9 in games before and after the All-Star break and spent a week in the big leagues without seeing game action thereafter.
Louisville, Ky. – The Louisville Bats (Triple-A/Cincinnati Reds) salvaged the finale of their series with the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders (New York Yankees) and avoided the sweep with a 5-3 win on Monday evening. The win snapped SWB’s five-game winning streak, and pushed them back to below .500 with a record of 54-55.
Following two scoreless innings, the Bats started the scoring with two runs in the third. With one out, Billy Hamilton doubled to right field, and then stole third base. Following a walk to Henry Rodriguez, the rehabbing Ryan Ludwick grounded out to second base to drive home Hamilton. Felix Perez capped the inning with a base hit to left-center field to plate Rodriguez.
Louisville doubled their lead with two runs in the fourth. Mike Hessman led off with a double to left field. He advanced to third base on a single by Josh Fellhauer, and scored when Nevin Ashley hit a sacrifice fly to left field. Hamilton later singled to right field to send Kristopher Negron home for a 4-0 Bats lead.
The RailRiders got on the board thanks to a Louisville defensive miscue in the fifth. Thomas Neal led off with a single to center, and would later score when third baseman Neftali Soto threw the ball away trying to retire Adonis Garcia at first base.
Scranton/Wilkes-Barre attempted a rally, and added a run in the top of the eighth. With one out, Brendan Harris singled to left field. Following a single by Dan Johnson, Harris came around to score on a base hit by Randy Ruiz. It sliced the Louisville lead to just two runs.
The Bats brought the run back in the bottom of the eight. Soto doubled to lead off the frame, and Emmanuel Burriss was brought in to run. Burriss moved to third on a single by Hessman, and would come around to score on a base hit by Kristopher Negron.
Garcia continued his torrid offensive pace when he homered in the ninth inning, his second of the season. The late power was not enough, as SWB failed to complete the sweep.
Chad Rogers (3-2) was very effective in his five and one-third innings, and he earned the win. Rogers only allowed one unearned run, and struck out four. Jose Diaz allowed the Garcia homer but picked up his seventh save of the campaign.
Chris Bootcheck (9-4) took the loss, but gave the bullpen some much needed rest by throwing six innings. He allowed four runs on six hits, and struck out four.
Despite the loss, SWB took three of four games from Louisville. The RailRiders will now embark on the second leg of their eight-game road trip when they play the Indianapolis Indians (Pittsburgh Pirates) beginning on Tuesday night. Brett Marshall (5-8, 5.35) will take the mound in the opener, and first pitch is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. 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! -
ABOUT LAST NIGHT: A three-run homer by Randy Ruiz put the RailRiders ahead to stay in a five-run sixth inning en route to a 9-2 rout of the Bats last night.
RANDY DANDY: Ruiz launched his 14th home run of the season to close within two of the team’s leader in that category, Dan Johnson. Johnson has hit his 16 blasts in 104 games and 358 at-bats. Ruiz has amassed his gaudy total in just 40 games and 158 at-bats. If he had enough plate appearances to qualify, Ruiz would lead the league in home run to at-bat ratio (1:11.3). The league’s overall home run leader with 28, Buffalo’s Mauro Gomez, the reigning IL MVP, paces the loop with his 1:12.29 ratio. Ruiz has three of his homers during his current five-game hitting streak in which he is connecting at a .370 rate (10-for-27) with five extra-base hits in total. He has excelled against left-handed pitching (.333/.375/.756/1.131) and on the road (.352/.370/.634/1.004).
FIVE FOR FIVE: After a five-game losing streak that saw the RailRiders score five total runs (one in each game), the team has averaged five runs even per game with 25 scored while winning five in a row.
POWER OUTAGE: Part of the RailRiders’ success of late has involved containing their foes’ power. SWB has not surrendered a dinger in a season-high-tying five straight games.
ON A ROLL: SWB’s fifth straight win has it back to .500 at 54-54. It has not owned a winning record since May 19 when it entered the day at 21-20 before dropping a 10-4 decision at Columbus. The RailRiders were in the midst of losing 12 of 13 at the time.
SCOREBOARD WATCHING: Pawtucket’s six losses in eight games and 16 over its last 22 have dramatically changed the landscape in the IL North. The PawSox now virtually share the division’s top spot and the wild-card lead with Rochester. Both Buffalo and Lehigh Valley lost yesterday, allowing the RailRiders to jump over the IronPigs and draw closer to the third-place Bisons. Buffalo now sits 3.5 games out of first, while the RailRiders stand just a half-game back of the Bisons. Before this week, the RailRiders had not been this close to the first-place spot in the IL North since they entered play on May 21 in third place and 4.0 games out. They have not been in third place or better since they entered the last day of May in third, but 7.0 games out. SWB was 14.5 games out of first after its 5-4 loss to Syracuse on June 27.
BULLISH ‘PEN: Since Yoshinori Tateyama allowed three runs in the 10th inning in a 4-1 loss to Toledo on Tuesday, the RailRiders’ bullpen has dominated. Over a stretch of six games and 32.2 innings, SWB’s relievers have allowed just 21 hits and two runs (0.55 ERA). They have also collected 43 strikeouts (11.85/9 IP) against 13 walks (3.3:1 K:BB ratio).
ON THE CHASE: Last night’s win was cemented by a scoreless ninth from Chase Whitley for the second time in as many days The Troy University product posted his ninth straight scoreless outing. He has tossed 17.1 shutout frames in that time, allowing just six hits (.107) in the process. He last allowed a run on June 27 when he resumed a suspended game at Syracuse.
OFF THE RAILS: Louisville’s Chad Reineke (8-9) took the loss last night and allowed his league-worst 18th home run of the season in the process…Fourteen of those round-trippers have come at Louisville Slugger Field…Adonis Garcia went 2-for-5 with a two-run double and a run scored…He has hit in all but two of his first 18 games with SWB…Since coming back from the bigs, All-Star outfielder Thomas Neal has gone 5-for-9 in assembling his first back-to-back multi-hit showings since July 8-9…Dellin Betances fired a scoreless seventh with two strikeouts…He has not allowed a run in 14 outings and 25 innings since suffering a walk-off loss at Lehigh Valley on June 16…Since he was moved to the bullpen in early May, Betances has posted a 4-2 record, four saves in as many tries and a 1.65 ERA…He has struck out 58 in 43.2 innings as a reliever (12/9 IP) while holding the IL to a .167 batting average.
Louisville, Ky. – The Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders (Triple-A/New York Yankees) used a three-run home run by Randy Ruiz to help beat the Louisville Bats (Cincinnati Reds) on Sunday night, 9-2. The win moves the RailRiders back to .500 at 54-54, and SWB has now won five consecutive games.
The offense got off to a quick start for SWB, and they led early for the first time in the series by scoring a run in the first. Adonis Garcia led off the game with a base hit to left field, and then moved to third on a double by Brendan Harris. One out later, Dan Johnson grounded out to second base to drive home Garcia.
The Bats gained the lead with a pair of runs in the third. With one out, Jason Donald doubled to left field. One out later, Billy Hamilton singled through the right side to drive Donald home. Hamilton then stole second base, his 61st stolen base of the season, and scored when Emmanuel Burriss hit a base hit up the middle.
A five-run sixth inning gave the RailRiders the lead for good. Ronnier Mustelier began the rally by reaching third base on an error by Hamilton in center field. After a walk to Johnson, Ruiz slammed his 14th home run of the season to left-center field. It bounced off the bottom of the video board that extends well beyond the wall. SWB was not done, as J.R. Murphy then doubled to left field, and scored on Corey Patterson’s double. Thomas Neal would later score on a wild pitch to give the RailRiders a 6-2 edge.
A three-run eighth provided padding for the SWB bullpen. Murphy singled, and moved to third on a base hit by Patterson. Jose Pirela then singled to drive home Murphy. Garcia then doubled to clear the bases, and give the game its final margin of 9-2.
Josh Spence (1-1) pitched two shutout innings in relief of starter Michael Pineda to earn the win. Pineda allowed two runs in four innings of work. The RailRider bullpen has tossed 32.2 innings over the last six games, and has conceded just two runs with 43 strikeouts. That accounts for an earned run average of just 0.55.
Louisville starter Chad Reineke (8-9) took the loss after allowing six runs, four earned, on seven hits in five and one-third innings.
SWB will go for the sweep and their sixth straight win on Monday night when they matchup with Louisville for the final time of the regular season. Chris Bootcheck (9-3, 3.50) will try for his 10th win of the season. First pitch at Louisville Slugger Field is set for 7:05 p.m. Pre-game coverage will begin 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! -
DAN DELIEVERS: For the second straight night, Dan Johnson played the role of late-game hero. On Saturday night, his ninth-inning single snapped a late tie as the RailRiders rallied for a 4-3 win over the Louisville Bats on Saturday night.
RALLY ‘RIDERS: Saturday marked the second straight game in which the RailRiders rallied from a three-run hole to win. Each effort matched their largest margin overcome on the season.
DAN THE MAN: Johnson pushed across the winning runs in the 10th inning on Friday when he connected on his team-leading 16th homer. Last night, he did the deed with two outs and a full count in the ninth when he singled home Jose Pirela from third. Johnson, who leads the team with 54 RBIs, went 3-for-5 in the game with a pair of doubles and two RBIs in total. Twenty of his RBIs have come with men in scoring position and two outs. He is hitting .283 in such circumstances, 46 points better than his overall contact clip (.237).
ON A ROLL: SWB’s fourth straight win has it back to within a game of .500 at 53-54. It has not owned a winning record since May 19 when it entered the day at 21-20 before dropping a 10-4 decision at Columbus. The RailRiders were in the midst of losing 12 of 13 at the time.
SCOREBOARD WATCHING: Pawtucket’s sixth loss in seven games and 16th over its last 21 has changed the landscape in the IL North dramatically. The PawSox now virtually share the division’s top spot and the wild-card lead with Rochester. Buffalo began the day 2.5 games out with Lehigh Valley (3.5) and SWB (4.0) right behind. The RailRiders had not been this close to the first-place spot in the IL North since they entered play on May 21 in third place and 4.0 games out.
WELCOME BACK: The New York Yankees announced multiple roster moves before yesterday’s game. They included the return of two men from the RailRiders’ Opening Day roster, with each coming from a different direction. IL All-Star Thomas Neal returned from the big leagues. On his second tour of duty with the Yankees, he did not see game action. He had been with the big club since July 20 so last night marked his first game played since July 19. He entered yesterday without a hit since July 12, but showed no rust with a 2-for-4 performance.
MARKY MARK: The other returnee came from several weeks of rehab in the Rookie GCL. Right-hander Mark Montgomery fired two scoreless innings with a pair of strikeouts. He also walked two Bats, lifting his season-long total of free passes to 22 in 34.1 innings (5.8 BB/9 IP). Montgomery had been on the disabled list since June 21 and had not thrown in a Triple-A game since June 17.
BULLISH ‘PEN: Since Yoshinori Tateyama allowed three runs in the 10th inning in a 4-1 loss to Toledo on Tuesday, the RailRiders’ bullpen has dominated. Over a stretch of five games and 27.2 innings, SWB’s relievers have allowed just 18 hits and two runs (0.65 ERA). They have also collected 36 strikeouts (11.7/9 IP) against a dozen walks (3:1 K:BB ratio).
THE DALEY SHOW: Matt Daley bridged the way to the game’s conclusion with perfect innings in the seventh and eighth. In 17 appearances, he has a 2.01 ERA. He has not allowed an inherited runner to score and has whiffed 29 against six walks (4.8:1 K:BB ratio) over 22.1 innings (11.7 K/9 IP). The league has amassed just 14 hits against him in that time (.171).
ON THE CHASE: Last night’s win was cemented by a scoreless ninth from Chase Whitley. The Troy University product secured this third save in as many tries and posted his eighth straight scoreless outing. He has tossed 16.1 shutout frames in that time, allowing just five hits (.096) in the process. He last allowed a run on June 27 when he resumed a suspended game at Syracuse.