PAWTUCKET, R.I. – Maybe it won't happen today when Major League teams are allowed to expand their rosters.
But the hitting-impaired New York Yankees might want to take a close look at Scranton/Wilke-Barre outfielder Melky Mesa.
Mesa belted two home runs which were good for three RBI as the Yankees edged the Pawtucket Red Sox, 4-3, on Friday night. Despite losing, Pawtucket reduced its magic number for clinching the wild card spot to one because Lehigh Valley suffered a 5-2 loss to Syracuse.
Mesa hit 14 homers at Trenton. And since he was promoted to the Yankees on August 2, he's hit nine in 30 games. "He's a strong, wiry-type kid," Yankees hitting coach Butch Wynegar said. "He has lean muscles and he has good bat speed. He also has good extension through the ball when he gets the right pitch and connects.
"Tonight was as good extension as I've seen. He stayed through the ball as well as he's done. The kid's got good leverage and he's very strong. If he hits one on the barrel it goes a long way."
Pawtucket bolted to an early 2-0 lead. Tony Thomas singled with one out in the first and Danny Valencia crushed a 1-2 pitch over the elevated billboards above Pawtucket's bullpen in left field.
Mesa hit his first homer with one out in the second when he jumped on a 3-1 pitch by Chris Hernandez (1-4) and drilled it over the center-field fence.
Yankees starter Ramon Ortiz (13-6) and Hernandez then assumed control and hung zeroes on the scoreboard until the seventh when Scranton/Wilkes-Barre erupted for three runs which produced a 4-1 lead. Cole Garner led with a double and Mesa followed with a two-run homer to left-center.
After Kosuke Fukodome singled and was thrown out stealing, Kevin Russo walked, advanced on an errant pickoff throw by Hernandez, moved to third on Ramiro Pena's groundout and scored on a wild pitch.
Jason Repko's seventh-inning triple accounted for Pawtucket's last run.
"The first home run was over the cameraman in center field," Wynegar said of Mesa's initial blast. "The second one, he was just trying to get the runner over from second base and he put a nice, tight swing on that ball. "We just have to guard against him trying to hit the ball out of the ballpark. When he starts trying to, he over-swings. If he stays short and tight with his swing, he's got a chance to hit it a long way."
|Dickerson rf||4||0||0||0||Hazelbaker dh||4||0||3||0|
|Joseph 2b||4||0||0||0||DeJesus 2b||4||0||0||0|
|Mustelier lf||4||0||4||0||Thomas lf||4||1||1||0|
|Romine c||4||0||0||0||Valencia 3b||4||1||2||2|
|Garner dh||4||1||1||0||Spears 1b||4||1||1||0|
|Mesa cf||4||2||2||3||Butler c||4||0||1||0|
|Fukudome 1b||4||0||1||0||Repko cf||4||0||1||1|
|Russo 3b||1||1||0||0||Hee ss||3||0||0||0|
|Pena ss||4||0||1||0||Lin rf||3||0||0||0|
E – Beato (2) LOB – Yankees 6, Pawtucket 4 2B – Garner (13), Mustelier (21), Butler (5) 3B – Repko (4) HR – Mesa 2 (9), Valencia (8)
|Ortiz (W, 13-6)||7||7||3||3||0||6|
|Claiborne (S, 1)||2||2||0||0||1||0|
|Hernandez (L, 1-4)||6||7||3||3||2||1|