MOOSIC — Back-to-back nights the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders were either tied or trailing the Syracuse Chiefs with Ryan McBroom at the plate.
And back-to-back nights he delievered. Except Thursday night came with much more heroics.
With Gio Urshela standing at third base with two outs after a lead-off single, McBroom was down to his final strike. After getting fooled by Syracuse reliever Austin Adams for a second strike, McBroom took a deep breath and wouldn’t make the same mistake twice.
He took the next pitch Adams and planted it into left field to score Urshela. Then two batters later, with McBroom standing on second base and Zack Zehner on first, thanks to a hit-by-pitch, Devyn Bolasky knocked McBroom home with his second hit of the night, an RBI single to center to give the RailRiders a 3-2 win over Syracuse.
“It’s, honestly, all about slowing the heartbeat,” McBroom said. “Honestly, our team put me in that situation, a great situation. Giovanny hit a triple, guy on third base, down by one, you basically have to slow the game down and have a slow heartbeat, look for a good pitch to hit. Got one and got him in.
“It’s pretty funny, the further in a hole I get, the slower the game gets for me. I just forced myself to slow the game down. You know what I mean? Once situations in that come up, I really focus on being super slow.”
McBroom’s big two nights comes on the heels of 0-for-14 stretch.
For McBroom, it was about staying relaxed at the plate and not get overwhelmed. He was going to take his lumps with his success and was set on playing his way out of his recent struggles.
The first baseman rebounded to go 3-for-6 with two walks, two runs scored and two RBI.
“Yeah, that’s how the game goes. It’s always been like that,” McBroom said. “You’ll get off track for a little bit, but the quicker you can get back on track the better your season’s going to be and that’s what I’ve kind of figured out this year. My fifth year in pro baseball, I’m like, ‘I got to figure it out now. I have to get back on track quicker and more effiecently.’ The quicker you can get back on track the better you’ll be.”
The RailRiders received a strong effort from their pitching staff for the second straight night.
Ryan Bollinger gave up just one earned run over six innings while George Kontos, Justus Sheffield and Stephen Tarpley combined to pitch three scoreless innings in relief.
This was Sheffield’s third relief appearance of the season, and best yet. The 22-year-old southpaw retired the side on just 12 pitches.
“Felt good,” Sheffield said of his outing. “It was quick. Felt like I was just out there for, I mean, litterally 10 seconds, but felt good.”
New York Yankees catcher Gary Sanchez played his final rehab game with the RailRiders on Thursday, catching all nine innings and going 0-for-4 with a pair of strikeouts. He will rejoing the Yankees on Saturday and said after the game that he was ready to return to the bigs.
“These two games, I haven’t felt any discomfort. No pain. I’m ready to go. The pitchers here have helped me a lot because they’ve pitched two really good games. They’ve rolled through the lineup. Every pitcher that came in after that has done their job. I’m happy that they did it and I feel good.
“I don’t feel a difference from the last time I did rehab. My body feels good. I have no complaints about what’s happened to me and I feel the same as last time.”
Avelino pulled early
Abiatal Avelino exited Thursday’s game prior to the RailRiders taking the field for the top of the second inning. Mitchell said the move was not due to an injury.
“Had to pull Avelino and we don’t even know why yet,” Mitchell said. “Something probably. Who knows? It’s all speculation right now.
We just got word to pull him (from the organization). We don’t know what’s going on.”
However, New York Post’s Joel Sherman was reporting late Thursday night that the Yankees were nearing a trade for San Francisco Giants outfielder Andrew McCutchen and Avelino would likely be part of the trade.
Feyereisen to have surgery
RailRiders reliever J.P. Feyereisen is set to have surgery to remove a “little floating thing” in his arm, according to Mitchell. The RailRiders manager described the procedure as a “basic” one.
“This is just something he probably had for a little while and might as well get it taken care of now for next year,” Mitchell said.
With the RailRiders’ 3-2 walk-off win and the Toledo Mud Hens’ win over the Indianapolis Indians, Scranton/Wilkes-Barre is tied atop the International League Wild Card standings with Indianapolis. The Mud Hens are 0.5 games back of the RailRiders and Indians.
“Really, really big win,” Urshela said. “We’re trying to get in the wild card. So we’re here every day to win.”
RailRiders 3, Chiefs 2
A. Sanchez ss`3`0`1`0
G. Sanchez c`4`0`0`0
E: Wade (13), Bolasky (1); DP: Chiefs 4, RailRiders 4; LOB: Chiefs 5, RailRiders 6; 2B: A. Sanchez (15), Marmolejos (25), Berry (1); 3B: Urshela (2); SAC: A. Sanchez; SF: Wilson; CS: Sierra (4).
Syracuse`100`000`100 — 2
RailRiders`000`010`002 — 3
Dragmire (H, 1)`1`1`0`0`0`0
Williams (H, 3)`1`1`0`0`0`1
Adams (BS, 1)(L, 1-4)`0.2`3`2`2`0`1
Tarpley (W, 2-2)`1`2`0`0`0`2
WP: Adams, Bollinger.
HBP Zehner (by Adams).
Umpires: Charlie Ramos, HP; Reid Gibbs, 1B; Ryan Clark, 3B.
Time: 2:36; Attendance: 7,540.
Reach DJ Eberle at 570-991-6398 or on Twitter @ByDJEberle