MOOSIC — A somber Bobby Mitchell sat in his office Sunday night.
His Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders are in a rut.
Despite racking up nine hits, which was more than the Rochester’s seven, a three-run, second-inning home run off the bat of Red Wings right fielder Nick Buss was the difference. In fact, it’s all the Red Wings (16-15) would need as the RailRiders (16-19) failed to climb out of the early hole, falling 3-1 in Sunday’s series finale.
“We had our chances to score. We’re just not scoring,” said the RailRiders manager. “We’re not scoring runs. (Starting pitcher Daniel Camarena) gave up a three-run homer and did well after that. You hope if you just give up three runs, or whatever, you’re going to have a good chance at winning. But we’re just not — we’re caught in a rut. Double plays, or we can’t get a two-out base hit, or we can’t move runners — we’re just not doing the little things it seems like.”
If he could, Camarena would love to take one pitch back. The 1-1 slider he threw to Buss.
Kennys Vargas and Wynston Sawyer each singled to get the ball rolling for Rochester. Then Buss finished the job.
Camarena was even able to settle down after the one-out, three-run shot, striking out Taylor Featherston and Sean Miller to end the frame.
“I was talking to (RailRiders catcher Kyle Higashioka) here a couple minutes ago and we were just — you know — one pitch,” Camarena said. “The guy did his homework. He jumped all over that slider. He got a good pitch to hit and he capitalized on it. It’s one of those where you tip your cap.
“I wish I could take it back.”
Buss’ home run was the only blemish on Camarena’s afternoon.
The 25-year-old southpaw went on to pitch 5.1 solid nnings, giving up four hits and three walks while striking out eight.
He was the start of something special on the mound for Scranton/Wilkes-Barre as Camarena, Brady Lail, J.P. Feyereisen and Raynel Espinal combined to strike out a season-high 14 batters.
Lail led the way, pitching 1.2 innings without allowing a base runner. He struck out a pair.
“(Higashioka) did a great job back there. Called a great game,” Camarena said. “I know he was feeling sick yesterday, too. So for him to saddle up and get out there and call the game he did, it was awesome. Just, it happens. Sometimes we’re going to score runs and, like I said, one pitch. I wish I could take it back.”
Clint Frazier was the lone offensive spark for the RailRiders.
The 23-year-old outfielder was 3-for-5 with a home run and a pair of strikeouts. His third-inning solo shot looked like the start of a promising frame when Brandon Drury later laced a two-out double before Mike Ford flew out to left to end the threat.
The RailRiders collected at least one hit in each of the first six innings and had a base runner in each of the first seven, but couldn’t do anything with them. They left 10 runners on base in the loss.
“He’s really a bright spot for us right now,” Mitchell said of Frazier. “He’s comfortable, he’s hitting the ball well, playing that outfield well. So it’s all good. I’m happy to see it for him. I really am. Energy-wise, his energy level’s up and he’s confident. He’s doing a great job for us.”
This was Frazier’s fourth game batting from the lead-off spot this season. And he shined.
Two of his three hits — both singles — came when Frazier was up first in the inning.
“I think it’s a spot that I’ve always had some comfortability in because, you know, I hit leadoff in high school, I hit leadoff a lot in the minor leagues,” Frazier said. “I asked to hit leadoff again just to try to get some at-bats back. Obviously it’s kind of working out right now.”
No update on Drury
The last day of Brandon Drury’s rehab stint comes on Tuesday, which is when the RailRiders open up their three-game set against the Lehigh Valley IronPigs at PNC Field. The New York Yankees Yankees will then have to decide whether they want to activate him off of the 10-day disabled list and bring him back to the majors or keep him in Triple-A.
Mitchell said he wasn’t sure what the future holds for Drury, who has been battling severe migraines and blurry vision. Drury is batting .343 in 11 games with Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.
Sheffield only missing one start
Mitchell confirmed after the game that 21-year-old southpaw Justus Sheffield has already met with a doctor and everything came back “fine.”
Sheffield’s only expected to miss one start after being pulled early Friday with shoulder stiffness. He was placed on the 7-day disabled list on Saturday.
Rochester 3, RailRiders 1
E: LaMarre (1), Buss (2), Frazier (1); DP: Red Wings 1, RailRiders 0; LOB: Red Wings 8, RailRiders 10; 2B: LaMarre (1), Drury (3); HR: Frazier (3); CS: Wade (3); SB: Ford (1).
Rochester`030`000`000 — 3
RailRiders`001`000`000 — 1
Jaye (W, 2-2)`5`8`1`1`2`2
Reed (H, 1)`1`1`0`0`0`2
Busemitz (H, 1)`2`0`0`0`1`3
Curtiss (S, 1)`1`0`0`0`0`2
Camarena (L, 2-2)`5.1`4`3`3`3`8
Umpires: Blake Carnahan, HP; Ryan Additon, 1B; Brennan Miller, 3B.
Time: 2:49 (1:10 delay); Attendance: 3,597.
Reach DJ Eberle at 570-991-6398 or on Twitter @ByDJEberle