Walks and the long ball sink RailRiders in Governors’ Cup Finals Game 2

By DJ Eberle - [email protected]
Durham Bulls shortstop Jake Cronenworth misses the tag on Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders catcher Wilkin Castillo, who slid in safely on the play, during Game 2 of the Governors’ Cup Finals Wednesday at PNC Field in Moosic. - Tony Callaio | For Times Leader
Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders shortstop Rey Navarro flips the ball to first baseman Ryan McBroom during Game 2 of the Governors’ Cup Finals against the Durham Bulls on Wednesday at PNC Field in Moosic. - Tony Callaio | For Times Leader
Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders third baseman Gio Urshela hits a double during Game 2 of the Governors’ Cup Finals against the Durham Bulls on Wednesday at PNC Field in Moosic. - Tony Callaio | For Times Leader
Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders shortstop Rey Navarro robs Durham Bulls designated hitter Jason Coats a hit by back-handing a grounder in the hole during Game 2 of the Governors’ Cup Finals Wednesday at PNC Field in Moosic. - - Tony Callaio | For Times Leader
Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders first baseman Ryan McBroom, right, waves off starting pitcher Nestor Cortes, center, as he beats Scranton native and Durham Bulls left fielder Joe McCarthy to the bag during Game 2 of the Governors’ Cup Finals Wednesday at PNC Field in Moosic. - - Tony Callaio | For Times Leader

MOOSIC — It wasn’t so much the pair of two-run homers that upset Bobby Mitchell.

It was more the fact that on each occasion the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders pitcher who gave up the home run walked the batter in the plate appearance leading up to each blast.

Nestor Cortes walked Durham Bulls second baseman Kean Wong to start the game. Rob Refsnyder took him deep in the next at-bat. Then in the ninth inning, Brandon Snyder drew a lead-off walk the batter before Nate Lowe put the RailRiders away for good with his two-run blast off Cale Coshow.

Those two-run homers and an RBI infield single from Jake Cronenworth proved to be the difference as the Bulls tied up the Governors’ Cup Finals, 1-1, with a 5-2 win over the RailRiders on Wednesday.

“I don’t care if a guy gets a hit that much, to lead off the inning or whatever, if you’re throwing strikes. It’s the walks that kill you,” Mitchell said. “I’m pretty sure that (Durham starting pitcher Austin Pruitt) didn’t walk too many. He walked one, and that’s exactly why he wasn’t giving up runs.”

Cortes sentiments echoed Mitchell’s after the game.

The talented southpaw worked Wong into an 0-2 count before the second baseman battled back to earn a base on balls. Cortes walked two more batters the rest of the game, but neither of them did damage as he threw six innings of two-run baseball, striking out six batters.

“I think I got him 0-2 and he battled back,” Cortes said of the Wong at-bat. “I mean, it was a great at-bat. It’s not something I like to do to start off the game, but it’s part of baseball.”

Refsnyder is back in familiar territory this week.

Even though he wore Durham’s road blue uniforms both Tuesday and Wednesday, the former RailRider was back in a place he spent parts of each of the last four seasons. Refsnyder was traded from the New York Yankees — just a few days after being designated for assignment while a member of the RailRiders — to the Toronto Blue Jays in July 2017.

The Durham outfielder homered for the second straight game, and his first-inning, two-run shot would be all the Bulls would need.

“Yeah, it’s cool. Scranton, a lot of memories here,” Refsnyder said. “The Yankees organization gave me the opportunity to fill one of my dreams. I’m super grateful for the time. It’s been fun.”

Refsnyder and Cortes had quite the dual to end the third inning.

The former RailRiders battled for 17 pitches before striking out against Cortes. Refsnyder even fouled off 11 straight pitches.

“I made good pitches and he was just fouling off everything,” Cortes said. “I threw him everything I had. I didn’t want to walk him. Was throwing everything over the plate and he was battling with me. Just a good battle.”

Now that the best-of-five series is all tied up, the RailRiders will lean on their ace, Mike King, on Thursday.

The 23-year-old right-hander has been the best pitcher in the International League since he was called up from Double-A Trenton on Aug. 4. In that time, King has yet to give up more than two runs in an outing and every start has gone at least six innings.

“Yeah, I like that. I like our chances,” Mitchell said of King starting. “If we get some runs, I think we have a real good chance. I think whoever wins tomorrow is in the driver’s seat a little bit.”

Adams promoted

Chance Adams is back in the bigs.

After an impressive stretch out of the bullpen for the RailRiders, the Yankees recalled the 23-year-old right-hander on Wednesday. In 7.1 innings out of the bullpen for Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, Adams sported a 1.27 ERA with seven strikeouts and a save.

“He went up there and started, obviously. I think, just by watching him, that he looks comfortable in what he’s doing here,” Mitchell said. “If he can just go and get after it like a reliever and instead of a starter, he can hopefully be productive for them.”

Left-handed reliever Phillip Diehl was promoted from Trenton as the corresponding move. Diehl had an 0-1 record and 1.35 ERA in 14 appearances with the Thunder.

McCarthy goes 0-for-4

Scranton alum Joe McCarthy struck out twice in four at-bats.

The Durham left fielder failed to collect a hit on Wednesday after singling and working a walk the day prior.

“I don’t want to call today a must-win, but it definitely was,” McCarthy said. “You don’t want to go down 2-0 against a team like the (RailRiders) with the arms and the bats, but we played our style of baseball today and were able to tie it up.”

GOVERNORS’ CUP FINALS

Game 2 (Tied 1-1)

Bulls 5, RailRiders 2

Durham`AB`R`H`BI

Wong 2b`2`1`1`0

Refsnyder rf`4`1`1`2

Meadows cf`4`0`0`0

McCarthy lf`4`0`0`0

Snyder 3b`3`1`0`0

Lowe 1b`4`1`1`2

Coats dh`4`1`2`0

Cronenworth ss`4`0`1`1

James c`3`0`0`0

Totals`32`5`6`5

RailRiders`AB`R`H`BI

Payton lf`4`0`1`0

Caldwell 2b`3`0`0`0

Mazzilli ph`1`0`0`0

Urshela 3b`4`1`2`0

McBroom 1b`3`0`0`0

Ford dh`4`1`1`2

Zehner rf`4`0`0`0

Navarro ss`3`0`0`0

Robinson cf`3`0`0`0

Castillo c`3`0`1`0

Totals`32`2`5`2

LOB: Bulls 4, RailRiders 4; 2B: Urshela 2 (2), Castillo (1); 3B: Coats (1); HR: Lowe (1), Refsnyder (2), Ford (1); SB: Cronenworth (1), Wong (1); CS: Wong (1).

Durham`200`000`102 — 5

RailRiders`000`000`002 — 2

Durham`IP`H`R`ER`BB`SO

Pruitt (W, 1-0)`6`3`0`0`1`5

Poche (S, 1)`3`2`2`2`0`4

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

Cortes (L, 0-1)`6`2`2`2`3`6

Lail`2`3`1`1`0`4

Coshow`1`1`2`2`1`1

Umpires: Dan Merzel, HP; Jeremy Riggs, 1B; Alex Tosi, 2B; John Bacon, 3B.

Time: 2:10 (0:17 delay); Attendance: 1,743.

Durham Bulls shortstop Jake Cronenworth misses the tag on Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders catcher Wilkin Castillo, who slid in safely on the play, during Game 2 of the Governors’ Cup Finals Wednesday at PNC Field in Moosic.
https://www.timesleader.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/web1_SWB-Bulls-Game-2-5.jpgDurham Bulls shortstop Jake Cronenworth misses the tag on Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders catcher Wilkin Castillo, who slid in safely on the play, during Game 2 of the Governors’ Cup Finals Wednesday at PNC Field in Moosic. Tony Callaio | For Times Leader

Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders shortstop Rey Navarro flips the ball to first baseman Ryan McBroom during Game 2 of the Governors’ Cup Finals against the Durham Bulls on Wednesday at PNC Field in Moosic.
https://www.timesleader.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/web1_SWB-Bulls-Game-2-4.jpgScranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders shortstop Rey Navarro flips the ball to first baseman Ryan McBroom during Game 2 of the Governors’ Cup Finals against the Durham Bulls on Wednesday at PNC Field in Moosic. Tony Callaio | For Times Leader

Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders third baseman Gio Urshela hits a double during Game 2 of the Governors’ Cup Finals against the Durham Bulls on Wednesday at PNC Field in Moosic.
https://www.timesleader.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/web1_SWB-Bulls-Game-2-2.jpgScranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders third baseman Gio Urshela hits a double during Game 2 of the Governors’ Cup Finals against the Durham Bulls on Wednesday at PNC Field in Moosic. Tony Callaio | For Times Leader

Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders shortstop Rey Navarro robs Durham Bulls designated hitter Jason Coats a hit by back-handing a grounder in the hole during Game 2 of the Governors’ Cup Finals Wednesday at PNC Field in Moosic.
https://www.timesleader.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/web1_SWB-Bulls-Game-2-3.jpgScranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders shortstop Rey Navarro robs Durham Bulls designated hitter Jason Coats a hit by back-handing a grounder in the hole during Game 2 of the Governors’ Cup Finals Wednesday at PNC Field in Moosic. Tony Callaio | For Times Leader

Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders first baseman Ryan McBroom, right, waves off starting pitcher Nestor Cortes, center, as he beats Scranton native and Durham Bulls left fielder Joe McCarthy to the bag during Game 2 of the Governors’ Cup Finals Wednesday at PNC Field in Moosic.
https://www.timesleader.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/web1_SWB-Bulls-Game-2-1.jpgScranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders first baseman Ryan McBroom, right, waves off starting pitcher Nestor Cortes, center, as he beats Scranton native and Durham Bulls left fielder Joe McCarthy to the bag during Game 2 of the Governors’ Cup Finals Wednesday at PNC Field in Moosic. Tony Callaio | For Times Leader
Durham, SWB tied 1-1 after 2 Games

By DJ Eberle

[email protected]

T.L. EXPRESS

Today’s Game: The RailRiders continue their best-of-five series against the Durham Bulls. First pitch is scheduled for 6:35 p.m. at PNC Field.

Probable Pitchers: SWB RHP Mike King (0-0, 2.70 ERA) vs. DUR RHP Chih-Wei Hu (1-0, 3.60)

Today at PNC Field: Governors’ Cup Finals Game 3

Riding the Rails: RHP Chance Adams recalled by N.Y. Yankees; LHP Phillip Diehl promoted from Trenton.

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

HOW THEY SCORED

DURHAM FIRST: Nestor Cortes pitching. Kean Wong walks. Rob Refsnyder homers to deep left, Wong scores. DURHAM 2-0

DURHAM SEVENTH: Brady Lail pitching. Jason Coats triples to deep right center. Jake Cronenworth reaches on an infield single to first, Coats scores. DURHAM 3-0

DURHAM NINTH: Cale Coshow pitching. Brandon Snyder walks. Nate Lowe homers to deep left center, Snyder scores. DURHAM 5-0

RAILRIDERS NINTH: Colin Poche pitching. Gio Urshela doubles to right. Mike Ford homers to deep right, Urshela scores. DURHAM 5-2

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

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