MOOSIC — Clint Frazier is making the best of whatever situation he faces.
The Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders outfielder has had success every time he’s gone up to the bigs this season, batting .350 with an RBI in eight games with the New York Yankees.
However, despite that success, Frazier has spent the majority of his season — 46 games — playing in Triple-A. A logjam in the Yankees’ outfield has kept him here. But that hasn’t stopped him from tearing the seams off International League baseballs, which is what happened again in Thursday’s win over the Buffalo Bisons.
Frazier mashed a pair of home runs and totalled a game-high four RBI as the RailRiders sunk Buffalo, 9-6, to complete a four-game, home-and-home series sweep. The victory marks Scranton/Wilkes-Barre’s first four-game winning streak of the season.
“Last couple days have kind of turned around for me as far as the swings I want to take as far as damage goes,” Frazier said. “I think with how many guys we’ve had either go on the disabled list or go up and down, it’s impressive. We keep throwing guys out there and going out there and performing good games. It’s good for us right now. It’s a fun time to be a RailRider.”
Frazier’s 3-for-4 performance on Sunday was a microcosm of what his July has been like.
In four games this month, the 23-year-old outfielder is batting .467 with a double, three home runs and six RBI. He’s second on the team in home runs and eighth on the team in RBI, despite nine of his 10 homers being solo shots.
“There’s some stuff that I’ve been working on in the cage as far as I felt like I wasn’t driving the ball to right field the way I wanted to this year,” Frazier said. “Last night I had the double to right and then the homer to right. I just missed that one my last at-bat. It’s fun going both directions. It makes it harder to pitch to me if I can do that.”
But Frazier wasn’t the only RailRiders to find success at the plate Thursday afternoon.
Frazier was one of three players to record three hits — joined by Shane Robinson and Billy McKinney — and both Zack Zehner and Mark Payton had two knocks apiece. Only one RailRider failed to record a hit, but all nine reached base safely.
In all, the RailRiders’ tacked on 16 hits in the nine-run barrage. But most impressive factor may have been that the RailRiders led off six of the eight innings in which they batted with a hit.
“Clint got us rolling. He did a good job,” McKinney said. “I think we just kind of ran with it from there. Everybody’s at-bats looked really good. It’s a quick turnaround, so I was really glad to see how everybody showed up ready to play and we came out swinging.”
RailRiders starting pitcher Nestor Cortes was lights out once again.
The southpaw pitched six shutout innings — he gave up one unearned run — while giving up five hits and striking out four. Cortes didn’t walk a batter.
After sporting a 0-3 record and 6.75 ERA in eight games between April 21 and May 28, Cortes has turned it on since the start of June. He is 2-0 with a 1.03 ERA in five games since June 3, showing glimpses of his 2017 form when he sported a 3.43 ERA in 14 games with the RailRiders.
“I kind of noticed mid-game — I was thinking to myself while going through game plans and stuff like that — I kind of feel, even in the bullpens, I kind of feel like I’m getting back to where I was last year,” Cortes said. “It feels pretty good.”
Wade goes up
RailRiders shortstop Tyler Wade was promoted to the Yankees on Thursday.
With Gleyber Torres placed on the 10-day disabled list Thursday with a hip flexor injury, the Yankees needed a backup shortstop. The red-hot Wade will add his defensive ability and position flexibility to the 25-man roster.
Wade has played second and third base, shortstop and all three outfield positions for the RailRiders this season.
“He was really dynamic here. When you get on base, you’re going to score runs because of his speed and athletic ability,” Mitchell said. “I think he’s hopefully ready to go up there and help with a good attitude and they’re going to need him in some of the games that they have him. When we sent him up there, we expect him to do well for them and I think he’s, right now, in a good spot to do that.”
There wasn’t a corresponding move announce to fill Wade’s roster spot after the game.
1B Tyler Austin (back) ran around the bases pregame Thursday. Austin could be activated off the 7-day disabled list in the coming days and as soon as Friday, according to Mitchell. … OF Billy McKinney played his first game of the season at first base on Thursday. McKinney said after the game that “it was fun to get out there” and he’s “glad I have that in my pocket and was able to get the start.” McKinney looked comfortable at the position, making a pair of impressive plays.
RailRiders 9, Bisons 6
E: Urena (3), Mazzilli (8), Navarro (3); Pickoffs: McGuire (Zehner at 1B); DP: Bisons 2, RailRiders 0; LOB: Bisons 6, RailRiders 5; 2B: Lopes (14), Urena 2 (5); 3B: Zehner (2); HR: Jansen (6), Frazier 2 (10), Castillo (1); CS: Payton (4), Zehner (1).
Buffalo`000`100`500 — 6
RailRiders`104`031`000 — 9
Tepesch (L, 0-4)`4.1`11`7`7`0`2
Cortes (W, 3-3)`6`5`1`0`0`4
Carroll (S, 8)`1`0`0`0`0`0
Umpires: Blake Carnahan, HP; Ryan Additon, 1B; Shane Livensparger, 2B; Brennan Miller, 3B.
Time: 2:27; Attendance: 4,978.
Reach DJ Eberle at 570-991-6398 or on Twitter @ByDJEberle