Well, that scoring drought didn’t last long.
And now, it shouldn’t be long before the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders once again become a playoff team.
Rehabbing New York Yankees infielders Starlin Castro and Greg Bird hammered back-to-back home runs in the fourth inning Thursday, snapping a 17-inning scoreless streak and fueling a seven-run rally that carried the RailRiders past Rochester, 8-3 at Frontier Field.
The victory reduced Scranton/Wilkes-Barre magic number to two for clinching an International League playoff spot. The RailRiders can wrap up a playoff spot by beating Syracuse at 7:05 p.m. tonight at PNC Field on Gary Sanchez Baby Bomber bobblehead night, combined with a Lehigh Valley loss.
Castro, who is hitting .333 over six games with the RailRiders, belted his first homer during his Triple-A recovery period. Bird immediately followed with his third homer in eight rehab games with the RailRiders and raised his Triple-A batting average to .375.
Their power display triggered a fourth-inning spree where all nine RailRiders hitters reached base before Rochester recorded an out.
For good measure, Ji-Man Choi openened the fifth inning for the RailRiders with his team-leading 15th home run.
The offensive outburst was a fast turn-around from Tuesday, when the RailRiders finished the final six ininngs of a game suspended on Tuesday without scoring, then were shut out in a 1-0 loss through the seven-inning game that followed.
They started quietly Thursday, also, as Rochester took a 1-0 lead into the fourth inning before the RailRiders’ run-scoring eruption.
Castro, Mason Williams, Jake Cave, Eddy Rodriguez and Mark Payton all had two hits in the game.
Williams roped a two-run double in the fourth inning, while Cave drew two walks and finished with an RBI and a run scored.
Jordan Montgomery, who spent this season with the parent New York Yankees before he was recently sent to the RailRiders, pitched three innings in his first Triple-A appearance since he started and won the 2016 Gildan Triple-A National Championship Game last season.
Montgomery, who was moved to Triple-A to limit his innings, gave up one run on two hits. He walked none, struck out three and threw 47 pitches, 31 for strikes. Reliever Joe Mantiply (6-5) got the win by throwing four innings of two-run ball.