MOOSIC — The hitting woes that plagued Brent Lillibridge during his stint with the New York Yankees followed him all the way to Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.
But so did his glove.
Lillibridge made two spectacular defensive plays Saturday upon his return to the RailRiders, but it didn’t stop Buffalo from taking a 6-2 victory at PNC Field.
Lillibridge, who hit just .171 in his stint with the parent New York Yankees, struck out three times against Buffalo starter Justin Germano.
But a lot of the RailRiders had trouble with Germano, who fanned eight batters and allowed five hits in his eight innings.
Buffalo used a two-run homer by Moises Sierra to fuel a three-run third inning, added a run in the fifth on Ricardo Nanita’s run-scoring double and padded its lead with Kevin Pillar’s RBI double in the ninth inning.
The RailRiders made things interesting in the ninth inning, when Ronnier Mustelier drew a bases-loaded walk to force home Adonis Garcia and bring Lillibridge to the plate with the potential tying run.
But three straight outs later, the game was over, as Buffalo reliever Jeremy Jeffress entered the game and closed the door, recording two strikeouts to end it.
It wouldn’t have even been that close without Lillibridge, who returned with the type of head-turning defense he’s become known for throughout his career.
Lillibridge made a diving stop and strong throw to rob Sean Ochinko of a hit in the second inning, stranding two runners and keeping the game scoreless at the time. Lillibridge also made a full-length, stretched-out stab of Jim Negrych’s liner in the fourth inning.
Before his callup to New York, Lillibridge batted .341 for the RailRiders with seven home runs. But his swing began to struggle in New York, and Lillibridge was outrighted to the minor leagues after clearing waivers.
Saturday marked his return to Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.