MOOSIC — Miguel Andujar is just 22 years old. Domingo German just turned 24 earlier this month.
They’re two of the younger Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders, and together they’re making some of the loudest noise as of late.
That continued Sunday against the Durham Bulls.
German pitched seven shutout innings while Andujar finished a triple shy of the cycle and drove in two thirds of his team’s runs in a 3-0 victory over the Bulls. With the win, Scranton/Wilkes-Barre (79-47) was able to avoid a sweep after dropping the first two games of the series.
“The key for Domingo was he came out throwing strikes, used both sides of the plate. He showed good life on his fastball. Breaking ball was outstanding today — slider and changeup,” RailRiders manager Al Pedrique said. “Andujar was nice to see to come through. I know he’s been searching and trying to get big hits with guys in scoring position. We told him earlier today to relax, have some fun and the ball where it’s pitched. He got a couple good pitches to hit.”
Andujar continued to stay hot.
The 22-year-old drilled a solo shot into the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre bullpen in the bottom of the sixth inning to double the lead to 2-0. His eighth-inning RBI double rounded out the RailRiders’ scoring.
“(I) feel very happy with (my) approach today,” Andujar said through an interpreter. “Every time (I) go up to the plate (I have) a plan and was happy to execute (my) plan every time (I) went up to the plate today.”
Andujar’s home run was just his second of August and eighth of the season with the RailRiders.
With a three-hit effort on Sunday, Andujar stretched his hitting streak to six games. He’s batting .458 with a home run, two doubles and four RBI over the stretch.
“Every time (I) go up to hit, (I) don’t think of the long ball. (I) don’t think of the home run,” Andujar said. “(I) just want to get a good approach and look for the fastball, and if (I hit) it, (I hit) it. Most important, (I) got the base hit.”
Facing a fastball-seeking Bulls lineup, German, a hard-throwing right-hander, had an opportunity to show the progress he’s made lately. Relying on his improved changeup and slider, German kept Durham (77-49) off-balance all afternoon.
Allowing just four hits and two walks over seven, he struck out an impressive nine batters — one off of his career-high — on just 102 pitches. Sunday was just the second time German has gone over the 100-pitch mark in his professional career.
“(I know) that Durham is a team that attacks (me) on (my) fastball and they know that (I have) a really good fastball,” German said through an interpreter. “(I) was trying to execute the plan that they had today and work off the off-speed, and it worked.”
Touching the mid-90s often, his ability to mix in his changeup and curveball played a major factor in German’s nine strikeouts.
He allowed just four hits and walked a pair.
“They were perfect,” German said of his off-speed pitches. “When something’s working and something’s going good for (me), you don’t change it and you keep on with the strategy because you try to change it you’re trying to perfect a pitch, that’s when things go bad. (I) was just going with the plan and with whatever was working.”
It was another quiet day at the plate for New York Yankees second baseman Starlin Castro, who has been rehabbing with the RailRiders since Friday.
Playing nine innings as the designated hitter, Castro was 1 for 4 with a single. He’s 2 for 11 with a pair of singles, a walk and a run scored overall.
After playing four games in four days on his rehab with the RailRiders, Yankees first baseman Greg Bird received a scheduled day off.
Both Castro and Bird will travel with the team to Rochester. Castro will play seven innings at second base and Bird will likely play nine innings at first.
“The thing I’ve seen with both are they’re healthy,” Pedrique said. “The way (Bird’s) been swinging the bat, you can tell he’s 100 percent healthy. Now he needs some live pitching, even though he’s comfortable at the plate right now. But he probably needs more at-bats.
“With Castro, he showed it the other night. He went from first to third, grounded out to short and went hard down the line. And then today, with the double that Andujar hit in the left-field corner, he went from first to third with no problem. He thought I was going to send him, but I told him he had no chance. He told me after the game that he’s feeling very good.”
Higgy back on the DL
Kyle Higashioka’s return from the disabled list was short. Very short.
In his first game back on Friday, Higashioka felt some pain in his shoulder midway through the game and it only worsened as the nine innings progressed. He was then place on the disabled list Saturday afternoon and will have an MRI on Monday.
Wilkin Castillo rejoined the team from Double-A.
“It was pretty weak at the end of the game,” Higashioka said of his shoulder. “It sucks. It’s pretty disappointing because I thought I was pretty much over the hump and ready to get back on the field. Pretty disappointing what happened, but the only thing I can do is keep my head up and keep moving forward.”
RailRiders 3, Durham 0
E: Wong (10); PO: O’Conner; DP: Bulls 1, RailRiders 1; LOB: Bulls 5, RailRiders 6; 2B: O’Conner (3), Andujar (12); HR: Andujar (8); CS: Smith; SB: Peterson (7).
Chirinos (L, 11-5)`5.0`7`1`1`0`4
German (W, 5-2)`7.0`4`0`0`2`9
Gallegos (S, 5)`2.0`1`0`0`1`2
Umpires: Ryan Wills, HP; Brennan Miller, 1B; John Bacon, 3B.
Time: 2:24; Att.: 6,104.