Torres’ return can’t rescue RailRiders as Gwinnett sweeps series

Times Leader

Some mild concern for the New York Yankees organization was alleviated on Wednesday. The losing skid for the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders was not.

Top prospect Gleyber Torres returned to the lineup after being pulled from a game earlier in the week for precautionary reasons with tightness in his back.

Torres reached base three times, but the RailRiders couldn’t get back on track against Gwinnett, as the Stripers completed a three-game sweep of the series with a 6-3 win at Coolray Field.

The third baseman showed no ill effects at the plate, hitting a double for the team’s lone extra base hit, drawing two walks and driving in a run on a sacrifice fly in his return.

But the RailRiders (7-6) couldn’t recover from an early hole.

Gwinnett smacked around Scranton/Wilkes-Barre starter David Hale, touching him for six runs — all earned — on 12 hits in just four innings.

Despite a promising start for the offense — Abiatal Avelino drove in Kyle Higashioka for a quick 1-0 lead in the top of the first — the Stripers (5-6) immediately surged ahead in the home half.

Johan Camargo, Carlos Franco and Rio Ruiz each drove in runs against Hale, who was back pitching in his native Georgia, for a 3-1 advantage.

Gwinnett added to the lead in the second with an RBI from Jaff Decker and ultimately went up 6-1 in the fourth to chase Hale.

The RailRiders bullpen sparkled from there, however, as three relievers held the Stripers to just one hit the rest of the way. Brady Lail struck out three in two innings while Jonathan Holder and Cody Carroll each added a scoreless frame of their own.

That allowed Scranton/Wilkes-Barre a chance to fire back with a strong opportunity coming in the sixth with the bases loaded. Ryan McBroom brought home a run when he was hit by a pitch, but the rally was snuffed out from there when reliever Miguel Socolovich struck out Zack Zehner to get out of the jam.

Torres made it 6-3 in the ninth with a sac fly that scored Cesar Diaz, who had been hit by a pitch and then went to third on two wild pitches. Rex Brothers retired Higashioka and Mike Ford to end the game.

Avelino led the RailRiders with three hits and an RBI. Ford, Zehner and Diaz also added singles. Max Fried earned the win for Gwinnett, striking out four in 5.1 innings of work.

Thursday will be the RailRiders’ first off day since the start of the season. From there, it’s a six-game homestand as they host Toledo for a weekend series, with Columbus coming into town afterward. Friday’s game is set for 6:35 p.m.

Times Leader

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

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