First Posted: 4/20/2013
MOOSIC – In his first start for Scranton/Wilkes-Barre this season, Chien-Ming Wang showed form similar to what made him a dominant starter for New York in 2006 and 2007.
The Taiwan-born right-hander kept Syracuse hitters off-balance all night throwing 5 1/3 scoreless innings to lead the RailRiders to a 5-3 win in the first game of a doubleheader Saturday night at PNC Field.
Wang only gave up six hits in the shutout outing and didn't allow any walks while striking out three. He induced nine groundball outs thanks to changing speeds with his curveball and changeup.
When he wasn't slowing down Chiefs' bats on grounders, he was getting them out in front. He made Syracuse's Micah Owings look bad in two separate at-bats.
In the second inning, Wang had Owings so far in front of the change that the right-handed swinger lost his bat and it flew all the way down to the end of the third base dugout and into the stands for a swinging strikeout. Owings' second appearance resulted in a tapper back to the mound. Two of the six hits Wang allowed were infield singles. Of the 74 pitches he threw, 51 went for strikes and his command was solid as he barely missed locations with his slider and fastball throwing first-pitch strikes to 14 of 21 hitters he faced.
“I was trying to throw the curveball more and the changeup and hopefully it can get better,” said Wang, who piled up consecutive 19-win seasons for New York in 2006 and 2007 before an injury dampened his success.
Wang, who signed with the Yankees last month and was pitching in extended spring training in Tampa the last few weeks, got help from the RailRiders offense as they gave the 33-year-old a 3-0 lead after the first inning.
Corban Joseph, who in the team's first game notched the first hit in RailRiders history, bombed the first leadoff home run for the team when he led off the top of the first with a blast that landed on the lawn seats in right field. Joseph's second longball of the season was also the first home run by any team at renovated PNC Field that landed in the new lawn seating area. Thomas Neal and Bobby Wilson added two-out, run-scoring singles in the bottom of the first.
“It's better than being zero-zero,” Wang said about the early lead. “So I could focus on pitching my game and control everything.”
The lone extra-base hit Wang allowed came on a double that right fielder Thomas Neal couldn't get around on the flyball. That hit by Carlos Rivera led off the stanza, but Wang got the next three batters out with a pair of grounders sandwiched around a looking strikeout to escape the potential trouble.
The RailRiders went ahead 4-0 in the third on another two-out RBI-single by Neal. They were done scoring in the bottom of the sixth when Wilson, the backup catcher hit his second home run of the season. In the process, he tied Neal for the team lead in RBI with 11. With the second home run of the game, SWB surpassed its total of home runs from the entire season-opening homestand in one game.
Chiefs 4, RailRiders 3
Syracuse won the nightcap of Saturday's doubleheader at PNC Field, 4-3 scoring four runs off RailRiders starter Brett Marshall in the first three innings. Chris Marrero had a big game for the Chiefs with a pair of home runs. He took Marshall deep for a two-run shot in the first and a solo blast in the third and now has five for the season.
Marshall lasted five innings allowing eight hits and one walk in addition to the four runs and struck out five.
The RailRiders only had three hits in the game and Corban Joseph had two of them. Joseph, the team's leadoff doubled and scored in the first inning then hit a solo home run in the second. The home run, his third of the season was his second in two games.