MOOSIC — Matt Wotherspoon did more than enough to win his third game of the season. That honor instead went to Norfolk Tides reliever Tim Melville, who pitched a scoreless 10th inning.
What the Crestwood alum did do was pitch into the sixth inning for a second straight start, tie his season-high for strikeouts with seven and leave the game with the lead. But the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders weren’t going to go down without a fight first.
Thanks to a pair of late-inning, one-run comebacks, Scranton/Wilkes-Barre forced extra innings against the Tides. But their rallying ways died in the 10th inning after the Tides (64-57) scored three runs in the top of the frame. The RailRiders (63-58) failed to respond, falling 7-4.
“Coming back twice in the same game and attempt to in the last inning was good for us,” RailRiders first baseman Mike Ford said. “We’ll be fine. Hopefully we come back tomorrow and we’re 10-for-10 with guys in scoring position — if that’s possible.”
Despite facing trouble in the bottom of the second inning, when a Gio Urshela triple, Wilkin Castillo RBI double and Devyn Bolasky RBI single tied the game up, 2-2, Wotherspoon spun one of this best outings of late.
For back-to-back games, not only did Wotherspoon pitch into the sixth inning but he limited the damage to just a pair of runs.
While the Mountain Top native isn’t having his best season, picking up two wins and his ERA is a full point and a half higher than his career average, you wouldn’t see any trace of troubles if you came to PNC Field to watch the former Comet make his return home.
Wotherspoon gave up the two runs on seven hits and a walk. His seven strikeouts continue a pace a season that has been seen a strikeout rate that’s better than his career average, punching out 90 batters over 79.1 innings.
“I thought his slider was good,” RailRiders manager Bobby Mitchell said of Wotherspoon. “He threw a lot of good sliders to our guys. He had them swinging-and-missing at sliders. I like Spoony. I like the way he throws. The last series we saw him we talked — he hasn’t had a great year, but he feels like he’s pitched better than his numbers and I think he showed up pretty good tonight.”
Norfolk quickly got after RailRiders starting pitcher Chance Adams, scoring runs in both the first and second innings.
Tides center fielder Mike Yastrzemski homered into the RailRiders bullpen on the very first pitch of the game. Then, with the bases loaded in the second, Yastrzemski was back in the batter’s box looking to do damage. After falling behind 0-2, Yastrzemski worked all the way back to a full count and in what was the seventh pitch of the at-bat, he watched an Adams delivery sail past him for ball four.
But the RailRiders didn’t let the 2-0 hole eat at them for long.
Three swings of the bat later the RailRiders tied the game up in the bottom of the second inning.
Adams gave up his second home run of the game when Garabez Rosa took the RailRiders right-hander deep in the first pitch of the fourth inning to give Norfolk the lead back, 3-2.
Even though he wasn’t efficient, Adams was able to limit the damage, giving up just the three runs on seven hits and four walks while striking out just one.
“I don’t know. I had good pitches. They were just swinging at stuff,” Adams said. “Definitely falling behind. Probably just being behind a lot in counts.”
A pair of one-run rallies, in both the eighth and ninth inning — an eighth-inning, bases-loaded walk by Tyler Wade and ninth-inning Urshela RBI double — extended the game, but Norfolk put the RailRiders away for good in the 10th inning.
With Luis Sardinas starting the extra-inning frame on second base, Rosa knocked him home with an RBI single to left and Breyvic Valera’s RBI double three batters later put the RailRiders away for good.
Progress for McBroom
RailRiders outfielder Ryan McBroom was out of the lineup again on Thursday, but he’s making progress according to Mitchell.
After missing Wednesday’s doubleheader due to back issues, McBroom has undergone some treatment that Mitchell says is working. While the 26-year-old was unavailable on Thursday, McBroom is day-to-day moving forward.
“We need him. If he can play he’s going to play, for sure,” Mitchell said. “I don’t want to risk anymore injury to his back, but if he’s — obviously if he’s healthy he’s a big plus for us. Down the stretch, if we lose him it’ll be devastating, so we hope that he’s back pretty quick here.”
Tides 7, RailRiders 4, 10 innings
E: Voit 2 (2); DP: Tides 0, RailRiders 1; 2B: Valera (5), Avelino (6), Castillo (6), Wade (18), Urshela 2 (11); 3B: Urshela (1); HR: Yastrzemski (7), Rosa (7); SAC: Valera; SB: Bolasky (1); CS: Wade (7).
Norfolk`110`100`0013 — 7
RailRiders`020`000`0110 — 4
Faulkner (H, 7)`0.1`0`0`0`1`1
Meisinger (H, 3)`1`2`0`0`0`2
Snelton (BS, 1)`1`2`1`1`2`0
Melville (BS, 2)(W, 8-6)`2`3`1`1`0`3
Coshow (L, 1-4)`2`3`4`3`2`2
WP: Wotherspoon, Tarpley, Coshow.
Umpires: Mike Wiseman, HP; John Bacon, 1B; Richard Riley, 3B.
Time: 3:31; Attendance: 8,204.
Reach DJ Eberle at 570-991-6398 or on Twitter @ByDJEberle