SWB RailRiders sweep doubleheader against Rochester

By DJ Eberle - [email protected]
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MOOSIC — Sure, it might just be three games. But it looks like the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders might have finally found their winning ways.

It only took a doubleheader against the Rochester Red Wings to do it.

Thanks to some timely hitting and an impressive outing from the pitching staff, the RailRiders swept Tuesday’s doubleheader against Rochester, 5-2 and 2-0, respectively. The RailRiders are owners of their first three-game win streak since May 15-17 against Lehigh Valley.

“In the past, pitching has always been kind of the cornerstone of the team’s the last two years for us, and it can be that same thing here,” RailRiders manager Bobby Mitchell said of his success with Double-A Trenton the past two seasons. “We have some young pitchers coming up to this level, so I think there’s an adjustment period. But I think they’re obviously starting to get more confident and get their feet underneath them at the new level and I think that’s a huge thing.

“Then we got the experienced guys like (Shane) Robinson and (Brandon) Drury. Guys that have been around a bit and have played in the big leagues. I think it’s a good combination of everybody. I think it’s all coming together now.”

That young pitching was on display Tuesday night, with 24-year-old Erik Swanson taking the mound in the first game of the doubleheader and 23-year-old Nestor Cortes starting in the nightcap.

Both Swanson and Cortes have had their struggles with the RailRiders (30-33) this season, but that wasn’t the case against Rochester (28-33).

Swanson pitched six innings of two-run baseball, with eight strikeouts, to pick up his first Triple-A win of his career. Despite taking a no decision, Cortes did his job and pitched five scoreless innings and kept the RailRiders in it until they won the game with their two-run sixth inning.

“Yeah, tonight was a little bit more like me, I’d say. Getting ahead on hitters and finishing guys off for a change,” Swanson said. “I had a few outings here the past couple that haven’t been the best. Nice to string a good one together and build off of that.”

“I was hoping we were going to get it for Nestor. But he pitched really well, kept the ball down,” Mitchell said. “If we can get that pitching, we’re going to win a lot of ballgames.”

Tuesday’s nightcap brought Drury’s first game at first base since 2016. It was only the second time he played the position since 2012, when he was in Single-A. But the 25-year-old did more than enough to hold his own.

Drury made an impressive catch over the railing of the Rochester dugout to record the first out of the fifth inning. Then, in a scoreless game in the bottom of the sixth inning, with Clint Frazier and Tyler Wade on the corners, Drury laced a laser into the gap in right-center field for a two-run triple.

It would end up being the game-winning hit as the RailRiders blanked the Red Wings in the nightcap.

“It went good today (at first),” Drury said. “It was a good at-bat against a tough pitcher. It was nice to get some runs on the board for the team.”

Mitchell said after the game that Drury playing first bases is “something we’re going to try to do periodically to get him some work over there in case (the Yankees) need him in an emergency.”

Notes

Drury saw his 32-game on-base streak snapped in the first game of the doubleheader. The third baseman went 0-for-3 with a run scored. However, he did get on base due to an error. … Minnesota Twins first baseman Joe Mauer rehabbed with Rochester. He was the designated hitter for both games and went 0-for-6 with a strikeout.

GAME 1

RailRiders 5, Red Wings 2

Rochester`AB`R`H`BI

Mauer dh`3`0`0`0

Wade lf`2`0`0`0

Gordon ss`3`0`2`0

Vargas 1b`3`0`0`0

Rupp c`3`1`1`1

Motter 3b`3`1`1`1

Granite cf`3`0`0`0

Buss rf`2`0`1`0

Featherston 2b`3`0`1`0

Totals`25`2`6`2

RailRiders`AB`R`H`BI

Frazier cf`3`1`2`1

Wade cf`3`0`0`0

Drury 3b`3`1`0`0

McBroom 1b`3`1`2`0

McKinney rf`2`1`1`3

Avelino ss`3`1`1`1

Caldwell 2b`2`0`1`0

Higashioka c`2`0`0`0

Payton lf`2`0`0`0

Totals`23`5`7`5

E: Motter (2); Outfield assists: Wade (Frazier at 2B); Pickoffs: Slegers (Caldwell at 1B); DP: Red Wings 0, RailRiders 2; LOB: Red Wings 4, RailRiders 2; HR: Rupp (1), Motter (1), McKinney (7), Frazier (6), Avelino (2).

Rochester`000`200`0 — 2

RailRiders`301`100`x — 5

Rochester`IP`H`R`ER`BB`SO

Slegers (L, 5-4)`6`7`5`2`2`4

RailRiders`IP`H`R`ER`BB`SO

Swanson`6`6`2`2`0`8

Harvey (S, 2)`1`0`0`0`1`0

HBP: Wade (by Swanson).

Umpires: Shane Livensparger, HP; Blake Carnahan, 1B; Ryan Additon, 2B; Brennan Miller, 3B.

Time: 1:39.

GAME 2

RailRiders 2, Red Wings 0

Rochester`AB`R`H`BI

Mauer dh`3`0`0`0

Wade rf`2`0`1`0

Gordon 2b`3`0`0`0

Vargas 1b`3`0`0`0

Astudillo lf`3`0`2`0

Sawyer c`2`0`0`0

Motter ss`2`0`0`0

Granite cf`2`0`0`0

Featherston 3b`2`0`0`0

Totals`22`03`0

RailRiders`AB`R`H`BI

Frazier cf`3`1`1`0

Wade ss`3`1`2`0

Drury 1b`3`0`1`2

McBroom dh`3`0`1`0

McKinney cf`3`0`0`0

Avelino 3b`3`0`1`0

Caldwell 2b`2`0`0`0

Castillo c`2`0`0`0

Mazzilli rf`2`0`1`0

Totals`24`2`7`2

Outfield assists: Frazier (Astudillo at 2B); Pickoffs: Moya; LOB: Red Wings 4, RailRiders 4; 2B: Mazzilli (6), Frazier (11); 3B: Drury (1); CS: Motter (1), Wade (5).

Rochester`000`000`0 — 0

RailRiders`000`002`0 — 2

Rochester`IP`H`R`ER`BB`SO

Moya`3`2`0`0`0`4

Duffey`2`2`0`0`0`1

Curtiss (L, 2-1)`1`3`2`2`0`2

RailRiders`IP`H`R`ER`BB`SO

Cortes`5`1`0`0`2`3

Gallegos (W, 1-1)`2`2`0`0`1`1

Balk: Cortes.

Umpires: Blake Carnahan, HP; Ryan Additon, 1B; Brennan Miller, 2B; Shane Livensparger, 3B.

Time: 1:48; Attendance: 4,266.

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By DJ Eberle

[email protected]

PODCAST

Visit timesleader.com to listen to the new episode of Riding The Rails. Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders outfielder Mark Payton joined the podcast this week.

Reach DJ Eberle at 570-991-6398 or on Twitter @ByDJEberle

Reach DJ Eberle at 570-991-6398 or on Twitter @ByDJEberle