RailRiders split doubleheader with Buffalo

By Tom Robinson - For Times Leader
Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders second baseman L.J. Mazzilli applies a late tag on Buffalo’s Danny Jansen as he steals second base in the first game of Saturday’s doubleheader at PNC Field in Moosic. - Bill Tarutis | For Times Leader
Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders shortstop Abiatal Avelino takes off from first base during the first game of Saturday’s doubleheader against the Buffalo Bisons at PNC Field in Moosic. - Bill Tarutis | For Times Leader
Buffalo Bisons right fielder Billy McKinney goes to bat during the first game of Saturday’s doubleheader against the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders at PNC Field in Moosic. - Bill Tarutis | For Times Leader
Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders infielder Ronald Torreyes walks to the plate during the first game of Saturday’s doubleheader against the Buffalo Bisons at PNC Field in Moosic. - - Bill Tarutis | For Times Leader
Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders starter Nestor Cortes delivers a pitch against the Buffalo Bisons during the first game of Saturday’s doubleheader at PNC Field in Moosic. - - Bill Tarutis | For Times Leader

MOOSIC – The Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders had a busy Saturday, even before they stepped on the field for a doubleheader with International League North Division rival Buffalo.

Chance Adams left to head to Boston to make his Major League debut for the parent New York Yankees.

Giovanny Urshela came over from the visiting clubhouse to join the roster as one of five roster changes between Friday’s rainout and Saturday’s doubleheader.

Once it became time to test the latest roster combination, one which is likely to change again Sunday, the RailRiders used the first game of the doubleheader to move into a tie with the Norfolk Tide in the IL wild-card race.

The RailRiders scored twice in the bottom of the sixth inning to take the opener 3-1. Both Scranton/Wilkes-Barre and Norfolk had comebacks fall short later in the night, keeping the tie intact.

Buffalo built a six-run lead in the first 2 ½ innings of the nightcap before holding on for a 6-4 victory.

When Norfolk cut a seven-run deficit to two only to fall 10-6 in Gwinnett, it left both the RailRiders and Tides with 58-52 records.

Shortstop Abiatal Avelino reached base five straight times in the doubleheader for the RailRiders. He had both of the team’s RBI in the opener and started the comeback attempt in the second game.

Nestor Cortes (5-5) and Cole Coshaw combined on a three-hitter in the RailRiders win.

Cortes struck out seven, including four in a stretch of 10 straight batters he retired. He allowed only one hit in his four innings after the Bisons had two while scoring in the second.

“Once you go more than five innings and give your team a chance to win, it’s always a good thing,” Cortes said. “At the beginning, I thought nothing was working. The zone was kind of tight.

“ … I battled through it and I think my cutter at the end was working. That’s what I went with.”

After giving up 11 runs in 12 2/3 innings while losing his last two start, Cortes was concentrating on his fastball coming into the game.

“I’ve been focusing more on commanding my fastball,” he said. “The key to those two outings before this one was not commanding my fastball when I needed to. Every time I left it out over the plate, it would get hit.”

Coshaw pitched a 1-2-3 seventh for his fourth save.

The RailRiders had four straight hits with one out in the third to tie the game. L.J. Mazzilli started it and scored the run on Avelino’s single through the right side.

Bisons starter Matt Tracy got out of a bases-loaded jam and the game remained tied until the bottom of the sixth inning.

Zack Zehner, who was 4-for-6 on the night, led off the inning with a walk.

Back-to-back bunts put the RailRiders ahead before Avelino’s infield single added an insurance run. Payton tried to sacrifice, but placed the ball in front of the plate for a single. Castillo bunted to the left side with runners on first and second.

Lefty reliever Jose Fernandez, facing his first batter, may not have had time to retire any runner. He decided to try to get Zehner going to third, but the throw got away, allowing the lead run.

Buffalo scored once in the top of the second and five more times in the third of the nightcap.

Tim Lopes singled and scored on a Roemon Fields double down the left-field line with two out in the second.

The first five batters had hits and scored in the third.

Billy McKinney tripled off the fence in left-center field to drive in the first run of the inning. Vladimir Guerrero Jr. followed with a single, also driving in a run and scoring one.

Richard Urena snapped an 0-for-26 slump by sending a 2-2 pitch over the fence in right field for a three-run homer.

The RailRiders began chipping away in the bottom of the inning. They scored once in the third, twice in the fourth and once in the fifth.

Avelino tripled through the gap in left-center field for the team’s first hit with two out in the third, driving in Francisco Diaz, who had walked.

Mike Ford and Zehner both doubled with none out in the fourth. Ford led off the inning and scored. Zehner drove in a run to make it 6-3.

Zehner singled for the RailRiders’ third hit of the fifth inning, driving in Ryan McBroom.

The rally stopped there.

In his first game with his third IL team of the season, Urshela popped up with the bases loaded to end the fifth, then struck out with the tying runs on base to end the game.

After starting the season in Columbus, Urshela was traded by the parent Cleveland Indians to the Toronto Blue Jays. Urshela played 19 games in Toronto, batting .233 before being sent to Buffalo. His first trade of the season was for a player to be named later. Saturday he went from the Blue Jays organization to the Yankees for cash.

Playing third base and batting seventh, Urshela was 0-for-3 in the nightcap.

Infielder Bruce Caldwell was sent to Double-A Trenton earlier in the day while pitcher Michael King was promoted.

Tyler Wade, who was optioned by the Yankees Thursday, reported and batted leadoff in both games while playing left field. He was 2-for-7 with a walk and committed an error.

GAME 1

RailRiders 3, Buffalo 1

Buffalo`AB`R`H`BI

Davis cf`2`0`0`0

Alford lf`3`0`0`0

Guerrero 3b`2`0`0`0

Jansen c`3`1`2`0

Tellez 1b`2`0`0`0

Urena dh`3`0`0`0

McKinney rf`3`0`0`0

Lopes 2b`3`0`1`1

Ngoepe ss`2`0`0`0

Smith ph`1`0`0`0

Totals`24`1`3`1

RailRiders`AB`R`H`BI

Wade lf`3`0`1`0

Avelino ss`4`0`3`2

McBroom 1b`4`0`1`0

Ford dh`3`0`1`0

Torreyes 3b`3`0`0`0

Zehner rf`2`1`1`0

Payton cf`2`1`1`0

Castillo c`2`0`1`0

Mazzilli 2b`3`1`1`0

Totals`26`3`10`2

Buffalo`010`000`0`—`1

RailRiders`001`002`x`—`3

E: Fernandez, Wade; DP: Bisons 2, RailRiders 0; LOB: Bisons 5, RailRiders 9; 2B – Jansen; SAC – Castillo.

Buffalo`IP`H`R`ER`BB`SO

Tracy (L, 0-1)`5.0`9`3`1`3`3

Fernandez`1.0`1`0`0`0`3

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

Cortes (W, 5-5)`6.0`3`1`1`2`7

Coshow (S, 4)`1.0`0`0`0`0`0

Tracy pitched to 2 batters in 6th.

HBP: Tellez (by Cortes)

Umpires: Adam Beck, HP; Skyler Shown, 1B; Rich Grassa, 3B.

Time: 2:01.

GAME 2

Bisons 6, RailRiders 4

Buffalo`AB`R`H`BI

Smith lf`4`1`2`0

McKinney rf`4`1`1`0

Guerrero dh`2`1`2`1

Telesz 1b`4`1`1`0

Urena ss`3`1`2`3

McGuire c`4`0`1`0

Lopes 2b`4`1`1`0

Fields cf`3`0`1`1

Ngoepe 3b`3`0`0`0

Totals`31`6`11`6

RailRiders`AB`R`H`BI

Wade lf`4`0`1`0

Avelino ss`3`0`1`1

McBroom rf`3`1`1`0

Ford 1b`4`1`2`0

Torreyes 2b`3`1`0`0

Zehner dh`4`0`3`2

Borasky pr`0`0`0`0

Urshela dh`4`0`0`0

Payton cf`3`0`0`0

Diaz c`2`1`0`0

Totals`30`4`8`3

Buffalo`015`000`0`—`6

RailRiders`001`210`0`—`4

E: Tellez; DP: Bisons 0, RailRiders 1; LOB – Bisons 7, RailRiders 9; 2B: Fields, Ford, Zehner; 3B: McKinney, Avellino; HR: Urena (4).

Buffalo`IP`H`R`ER`BB`SO

Pannone`4.2`5`4`3`3`7

Fisk (W, 3-4)`1.1`2`0`0`0`2

Shafer (S, 11)`1.0`1`0`0`1`2

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

Espinal (L, 6-2)`2.0`7`6`6`2`2

Tarpley`3.2`2`0`0`1`5

Harvey`1.1`2`0`0`0`2

Espinal pitched to 5 batters in the 3rd.

Umpires: Skyler Shown, HP; Rich Grassa, 1B; Adam Beck, 3B.

T: 2:35; A: 9,157.

Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders second baseman L.J. Mazzilli applies a late tag on Buffalo’s Danny Jansen as he steals second base in the first game of Saturday’s doubleheader at PNC Field in Moosic.
https://www.timesleader.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/web1_TTL080518RailRiders_1.jpgScranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders second baseman L.J. Mazzilli applies a late tag on Buffalo’s Danny Jansen as he steals second base in the first game of Saturday’s doubleheader at PNC Field in Moosic. Bill Tarutis | For Times Leader

Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders shortstop Abiatal Avelino takes off from first base during the first game of Saturday’s doubleheader against the Buffalo Bisons at PNC Field in Moosic.
https://www.timesleader.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/web1_TTL080518RailRiders_4.jpgScranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders shortstop Abiatal Avelino takes off from first base during the first game of Saturday’s doubleheader against the Buffalo Bisons at PNC Field in Moosic. Bill Tarutis | For Times Leader

Buffalo Bisons right fielder Billy McKinney goes to bat during the first game of Saturday’s doubleheader against the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders at PNC Field in Moosic.
https://www.timesleader.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/web1_TTL080518RailRiders_5.jpgBuffalo Bisons right fielder Billy McKinney goes to bat during the first game of Saturday’s doubleheader against the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders at PNC Field in Moosic. Bill Tarutis | For Times Leader

Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders infielder Ronald Torreyes walks to the plate during the first game of Saturday’s doubleheader against the Buffalo Bisons at PNC Field in Moosic.
https://www.timesleader.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/web1_TTL080518RailRiders_2.jpgScranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders infielder Ronald Torreyes walks to the plate during the first game of Saturday’s doubleheader against the Buffalo Bisons at PNC Field in Moosic. Bill Tarutis | For Times Leader

Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders starter Nestor Cortes delivers a pitch against the Buffalo Bisons during the first game of Saturday’s doubleheader at PNC Field in Moosic.
https://www.timesleader.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/web1_TTL080518RailRiders_3.jpgScranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders starter Nestor Cortes delivers a pitch against the Buffalo Bisons during the first game of Saturday’s doubleheader at PNC Field in Moosic. Bill Tarutis | For Times Leader

By Tom Robinson

For Times Leader

T.L. EXPRESS

Today’s Game: The RailRiders wrap up their three-game series against the Buffalo Bisons at PNC Field. First pitch is scheduled for 1:05 p.m.

Probable Pitchers: SWB RailRiders RHP Michael King (No record) vs. BUF RHP Nick Tepesch (1-6, 7.90)

Today at PNC Field: Family FUNday — Kids run the bases after the game, CHAMP’s Kids Club members receive free admission and kids 12 and under receive a free meal voucher for Jerseu Mike’s Subs; Military Discount — Fans with a military ID receive $2 off of walk-up tickets.

Riding the Rails: RHP Chance Adams signed to MLB contract by N.Y. Yankees and selected from SWB; INF Bruce Caldwell transferred to Double-A Trenton; RHP Michael King promoted from Double-A Trenton; INF Tyler Wade optioned by N.Y. Yankees on Thursday and has reported; INF Giovanny Urshela acquired by N.Y. Yankees from Toronto, assigned to SWB and has reported.

On Radio: All RailRiders games can be heard live on NEPA Sports Radio – The Game.

Reach Times Leader sports at 570-829-7143 or on Twitter @TLsports

Reach Times Leader sports at 570-829-7143 or on Twitter @TLsports