Saturday, July 12, 2014

RailRiders finally break out of slump

August 14. 2013 12:13AM

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MOOSIC – It took a couple weeks, but the RailRiders finally won a game in August at PNC Field.

Scranton/Wilkes-Barre got another well-pitched game from Caleb Cotham and the offense backed him up scoring more than five runs in a home contest for the first time since July 18, banging 11 hits in a 7-1 win over Charlotte for its first win in Moosic since the 20-inning marathon on July 25.

Cotham lasted just five innings after his pitch count got a little high with 87, but he improved his record to 5-5 and only gave up one run on five hits to mark the sixth time in his last seven appearances that he gave up less than two runs.

“He did a really good job tonight, and he would tell you that he didn’t have his best stuff tonight and we got him through five innings,” RailRiders catcher J.R. Murphy said. “Because he has four pitches, we can feel it out throughout the five innings and get through it like we did tonight.”

After Cotham left the game, the Knights threatened against RailRider relievers Cesar Cabral and David Herndon, but couldn’t erase a 3-1 deficit.

Then in the bottom of the seventh with one out SWB got insurance on back-to-back homers by Corey Patterson – who celebrated his 34th birthday on Tuesday – and J.R. Murphy to increase the margin to 5-1. It was the fourth time the RailRiders hit back-to-back homers this season and the second time Patterson was involved. SWB tacked on two more runs in the eighth to help the team stay afloat in the I.L. North and the Wild Card standings. With 20 games remaining the RailRiders are 8.5 games out of the division lead with an elimination number of 12 and 5.5 games out of the final playoff spot with an elimination number of 15.

“It’s been a rough month where I’ve been hitting everything off the end or getting jammed. But lately I’ve been working with (hitting coach) Butch (Wynegar) and things are getting a lot better. I was just happy I was able to contribute tonight and on my birthday,” said Patterson, who went 3 for 5 with a stolen base as he broke out of a slump that’s lasted nearly a month.

“After the game you’ll hear some guys talking about where we are (in the standings), but I think we’re more focused on going out there, finishing strong, let’s be committed for three hours. Then sit back and see where we are in the standings and hopefully in the next few days we’ll be in the mix.”

Cotham nearly got out of a jam in the first inning. He walked the leadoff batter, Marcus Semien then a single to Steve Tolleson to put runners on first and third with no outs. Tolleson attempted to steal second, but was gunned down by Murphy, the RailRiders catcher. After a groundout with the infield in, Cotham could’ve seen his way out of the inning. But with two out and a two-strike count, he balked in the first run of the game putting Charlotte ahead 1-0. The right-hander had to throw 23 pitches to get out of the first.

It didn’t take long for the RailRiders to help Cotham forget that first inning as the offense put up two runs in the bottom of the first with the big hit being a Randy Ruiz RBI double for a 2-1 SWB lead. SWB tacked on a run in the bottom of the fourth when Murphy singled in a run for a 3-1 advantage.

Erik Johnson, the fourth-ranked prospect in the White Sox organization according to Baseball America, got the start for Charlotte. After the first inning when the RailRiders sent seven batters to the plate and got two hits, Johnson only allowed three hits the rest of the way. He appeared to get stronger as the game progressed retiring the last six batters he faced and three of his seven strikeouts came in the last two frames of his six-inning outing. He didn’t walk any, but hit three.

RailRiders 7, Knights 1



Semien ss`3`1`1`0`Patterson rf`5`2`3`1

Tolleson 2b`3`0`2`0`Murphy c`3`1`2`2

Morel 3b`4`0`0`0`Mesa cf`5`0`0`0

Ishikawa rf`2`0`1`0`Johnson 1b`4`1`0`0

McDade dh`3`0`1`0`Ruiz dh`4`1`3`1

Wilkins 1b`4`0`0`0`Adams 2b`3`1`1`1

Anderson c`4`0`0`0`Mustelier lf`4`0`1`1

Earley lf`4`0`1`0`Lillibridge 3b`1`1`0`0

Gallagher cf`3`0`0`0`Maruszak 3b`2`0`0`0

““Harris ss`4`0`1`0




E – Semien (3). LOB —CHA 7, SWB 8. TEAM RISP – CHA 0-for-10, SWB 3-for-9. 2B – Ruiz 2 (12), Adams (11), Ishikawa (20). HR – Patterson (4), Murphy (4). SB – Semien (1), Patterson (4). CS – Toleson (3). GIDP – CHA 3 , SWB 0. Outfield Assists – Earley (Harris at second), Mustelier (Ishikawa at third).




Johnson (L, 2-1)`6`5`3`2`0`7

Castro `1`5`4`4`0`2



Cotham (W, 5-5)`5`1`1`1`3`1

Cabral (H,1)`1`1`0`0`0`1

Herndon (H, 1)`1.1`0`0`0`1`2

Demel (S, 3)`1.2`0`0`0`0`1

Castro pitched to three batters in the eighth

Balk – Cotham

HBP – Ishikawa (by Herndon), Adams (by Johnson), Murphy (by Johnson), Lillibridge (by Johnson)

WP – Cabral

Umpires— Home, A.J. Johnson;First, John Tumpane; Second, Jon Saphire; Third, Chad Whitson

T— 2:45 A— 4,981 (10,000)

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