The Scranton/Wilkes-Barre comeback kids: Clint Frazier provides spark in RailRiders win

By DJ Eberle - [email protected]
RailRiders first baseman Mike Ford makes a catch as Pawtucket’s Jordan Betts heads back to the bag safely at PNC Field in Moosic on Thursday. - Bill Tarutis | For Times Leader
RailRiders starter Nestor Cortes delivers a pitch against Pawtucket at PNC Field in Moosic on Thursday. - Bill Tarutis | For Times Leader
New York Yankees’ Clint Frazier makes a diving catch in center field for the RailRiders in a game against Pawtucket at PNC Field in Moosic on Thursday. - Bill Tarutis | For Times Leader
RailRiders shortstop Thairo Estrada drives the ball to deep left field against Pawtucket at PNC Field in Moosic on Thursday. - - Bill Tarutis | For Times Leader
Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders catcher Kyle Higashioka watches his drive clear the left field fence for a solo home run ahead of Pawtucket catcher Dan Butler at PNC Field in Moosic on Thursday. - - Bill Tarutis | For Times Leader

MOOSIC — Clint Frazier has had a bit of a flare for the dramatic in his first few games back with the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders.

After winning Wednesday’s series finale against the Buffalo Bisons with a walk-off single to center field, the RailRiders outfielder, who missed almost all of spring training and the first month of the season with a concussion, made a pair of ninth-inning plays with the game on the line in Thursday’s come-from-behind 4-3 win over the Pawtucket Red Sox. One in the field and one at the plate.

With the Red Sox (12-12) threatening in the top of the ninth, Frazier made an impressive play in center field, stopping things before they went from bad to worse on a Rusney Castillo RBI single, which tied the game. While Castillo drove the ball into the gap in right center, Frazier hustled to his left, quickly regained composure and after realizing he probably wouldn’t have gotten Chad De La Guerra, who was running on the play, out at home, he instead through to third to get Mike Miller for the second out of the inning.

Then, with the game tied, Frazier led off the bottom of the frame with a triple to the wall in right center. He would later score the game-winning run on Ryan McBroom’s sacrifice fly to right field, giving the RailRiders’ back-to-back walk-off wins.

McBroom’s sac fly propelled Scranton/Wilkes-Barre (13-13) past the Red Sox.

“Yeah, I guess I just want to save them all for my last at-bat,” joked Frazier, who was struck out twice in his first three at-bats. “I feel good in that situation. When the game’s on the line it’s probably helping me because it’s making me focus a little bit more and stay within myself. I hope I keep getting those opportunities.”

Frazier’s ninth-inning outfield assist was just one of a handful of plays in center field. He made an impressive diving catch for the first out of the game.

Not having played center since 2016, when Frazier first came to the RailRiders, he felt comfortable in the position once again. Everything came right back to him

“I haven’t played center since, I think, it was 2016 and I feel more comfortable there than I do in the corners,” Frazier said. “It’s just a better view. I have way more time in center than I do in the corners and it’s kind of been an adjustment period going from left-to-right, left-to-right — never getting my feet set in one spot. It felt good to be in center field and have a bird’s eye view.”

But Frazier wasn’t the only RailRider to come up clutch.

McBroom was able to put the ball in play with men on the corners and no outs to drive home the winning run. And Zack Zehner made his mark in the seventh inning after the Red Sox had grabbed a 2-1 lead in the top half of the frame.

With Fleming standing on first base and two outs and rain coming down at its hardest with the future of the game in jeopardy, Zehner tried to make a splash. He didn’t think it would a home run.

“It’s huge,” Zehner said of his two-run blast. “It’s late in the game. We were battling really hard and I got something over the plate. It was good to come through for the team there.”

Drury heading to Trenton

With the RailRiders set to head to Pawtucket this weekend, New York Yankees third baseman Brandon Drury, who had been rehabbing with the team since April 25, is continuing his rehab in Double-A Trenton.

Drury said after Thursday’s game that he wanted to stay close to New York so he can continue his treatment for severe migraines and blurry vision while playing in his rehab games.

“It felt pretty good. Getting better each day,” Drury said. “Still have some improvement to really be where I want to be at, but I’m definitely feeling an improvement and taking a step in the right direction.”

Bell: Sheffield joining RailRiders

Thunder manager Jay Bell told reporters in Trenton that southpaw Justus Sheffield, the Yankees’ No. 3 prospect according to Baseball America, is joining the RailRiders. Scranton/Wilkes-Barre manager Bobby Mitchell could not confirm the move after Thursday’s game.

Sheffield is 1-2 with a 2.25 ERA in five starts for the Thunder.

“I haven’t heard anything official yet,” Mitchell said.

RailRiders 4, Red Sox 3

Pawtucket`AB`R`H`BI

Castillo`5`0`2`1

De Jesus Jr. ss`5`0`2`1

Flores lf`5`0`0`0

Olt dh`3`0`2`0

Betts 1b`4`0`2`0

Tavarez rf`4`0`0`0

Butler c`3`0`1`0

De La Guerra pr`0`1`0`0

Ohlman c`0`0`0`0

Witte 3b`4`0`0`0

Miller 2b`4`2`3`1

Totals`37`3`12`3

RailRiders`AB`R`H`BI

Wade rf`4`0`1`0

Estrada ss`3`0`0`0

Drury 3b`3`0`2`0

Ford 1b`4`0`1`0

Higashioka c`4`1`1`1

Frazier cf`4`1`1`0

Fleming 2b`3`1`1`0

McBroom dh`3`0`0`1

Zehner lf`3`1`1`2

Totals`31`4`8`4

E: De Jesus Jr. (5); OA: Frazier; DP: Red Sox 2, RailRiders 1; LOB: Red Sox 9, RailRiders 6; 3B: Wade (1), Frazier (1); HR: Miller (2), Higashioka (4), Zehner (3).

Pawtucket`000`010`100 — 3

RailRiders`010`000`201 — 4

Pawtucket`IP`H`R`ER`BB`SO

Beeks`6.2`5`2`2`1`9

Buttrey`1.1`2`1`1`0`1

Brasier (L, 2-2)`0.1`1`1`1`0`0

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

Cortes`3.2`2`0`0`2`3

Coshow`3`4`2`2`0`5

Feyereisen (BS, 1)(W, 2-1)`2.1`6`1`1`0`3

WP: Buttrey.

Balk: Buttrey.

HBP: Estrada (by Beeks), Fleming (by Brasier).

Umpires: Shane Livensparger, HP; Adam Beck, 1B; Skyler Shown, 3B.

Time: 2:40 (0:05 delay); Attendance: 3,757.

RailRiders first baseman Mike Ford makes a catch as Pawtucket’s Jordan Betts heads back to the bag safely at PNC Field in Moosic on Thursday.
https://www.timesleader.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/web1_TTL050418RailRiders_5-2.jpgRailRiders first baseman Mike Ford makes a catch as Pawtucket’s Jordan Betts heads back to the bag safely at PNC Field in Moosic on Thursday. Bill Tarutis | For Times Leader

RailRiders starter Nestor Cortes delivers a pitch against Pawtucket at PNC Field in Moosic on Thursday.
https://www.timesleader.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/web1_TTL050418RailRiders_2-2.jpgRailRiders starter Nestor Cortes delivers a pitch against Pawtucket at PNC Field in Moosic on Thursday. Bill Tarutis | For Times Leader

New York Yankees’ Clint Frazier makes a diving catch in center field for the RailRiders in a game against Pawtucket at PNC Field in Moosic on Thursday.
https://www.timesleader.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/web1_TTL050418RailRiders_3-2.jpgNew York Yankees’ Clint Frazier makes a diving catch in center field for the RailRiders in a game against Pawtucket at PNC Field in Moosic on Thursday. Bill Tarutis | For Times Leader

RailRiders shortstop Thairo Estrada drives the ball to deep left field against Pawtucket at PNC Field in Moosic on Thursday.
https://www.timesleader.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/web1_TTL050418RailRiders_4-2.jpgRailRiders shortstop Thairo Estrada drives the ball to deep left field against Pawtucket at PNC Field in Moosic on Thursday. Bill Tarutis | For Times Leader

Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders catcher Kyle Higashioka watches his drive clear the left field fence for a solo home run ahead of Pawtucket catcher Dan Butler at PNC Field in Moosic on Thursday.
https://www.timesleader.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/web1_TTL050418RailRiders_1-2.jpgScranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders catcher Kyle Higashioka watches his drive clear the left field fence for a solo home run ahead of Pawtucket catcher Dan Butler at PNC Field in Moosic on Thursday. Bill Tarutis | For Times Leader

By DJ Eberle

[email protected]

T.L. EXPRESS

Today’s Game: The RailRiders wrap up the home portion of their home-and-home four-game series against the Pawtucket Red Sox. First pitch is scheduled for 6:35 p.m.

Probable Pitchers: SWB RHP Chance Adams (0-2, 5.11 ERA) vs. PAW (RHP William Cuevas (1-1, 3.74)

Today at PNC Field: Star Wars Night — The RailRiders will wear special edition Star Wars uniforms; Chance Adams Bobblehead Giveway — The first 2,500 fans will receive a Chance Adams Star Wars bobblehead.

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

HOW THEY SCORED

RAILRIDERS SECOND: Kyle Higashioka homers to deep left. RAILRIDERS 1-0

PAWTUCKET FIFTH: Mike Miller homers to deep right. TIED 1-1

PAWTUCKET SEVENTH: Mike Miller singles to center. Rusney Castillo reaches on an infield single, Miller to second. Ivan De Jesus Jr. singles to left, Miller scores, Castillo to third. PAWTUCKET 2-1

RAILRIDERS SEVENTH: Billy Fleming singles up the middle. Zack Zehner homers to deep right, Fleming scores. RAILRIDERS 3-2

PAWTUCKET NINTH: Dan Butler singles to center. Pinch-runner Chad De La Guerra replaces Butler. Mike Miller reaches on an infield single to the catcher, De La Guerra to second. Rusney Castill singles to right center, De La Guerra scores, Miller out at third on a throw by CF Clint Frazier. TIED 3-3

RAILRIDERS NINTH: Clint Frazier triples to deep right center. Billy Fleming hit by a pitch. Ryan McBroom out on a sacrifice fly to right, Frazier scores. RAILRIDERS 4-3

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

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