The Scranton Wilkes-Barre RailRiders endured a rain delay of over an hour but they made it worth the wait against the Syracuse Chiefs thanks, in part, to two Ruben Tejada homeruns in a 9-3 victory.
Scranton Wilkes-Barre hit the ground running in the first inning. Dustin Fowler led off the bottom half of the first with a hit down the first base line that saw him easily cruise into third base for a triple. Clint Frazier then followed him up with a sacrifice fly to center field giving Scranton Wilkes-Barre a 1-0 lead.
Following the sac fly, Ji-Man Choi doubled down the right field line and that set up the hot hitting Reuben Tejada. He didn’t disappoint as he deposited a ball in the RailRiders bullpen for a 2-run homerun. Scranton Wilkes-Barre would finish the inning up 3-0.
“(Tejada) went through a stretch of two or three games where he was pulling off the ball and swinging and missing too much,” RailRiders’ Manager Al Pedrique said. “He stays short and has a compact swing. He made the adjustment and he had a big game for us today.”
The Chiefs would score their first run in the third inning. After RailRiders’ pitcher Bryan Mitchell set down the first two batters, he served up a solo homerun to Chiefs’ left fielder Brian Goodwin. That cut the RailRiders lead to 3-1.
The RailRiders would answer back immediately. In the bottom of the third inning Frazier roped a double to right field. Ji-Man Choi then showed his opposite field stroke by putting a RBI double in the left center field gap putting SWB up 4-1.
Mitchell would leave the game after the third inning. He pitched three innings while only giving up three hits, one run, and five strikeouts.
According to Pedrique, the recently sent down Mitchell was on a 45 pitch or three inning limit in the game tonight. Mitchell worked exclusively out of the bullpen in New York and hasn’t been stretched out as a starter since spring training. He will throw up to four innings and 50-55 pitches.
“(Mitchell) had a good, live fastball down in the zone and he mixed it up with some breaking balls,” Pedrique said. “It was nice to see the way he pitched today.”
Scranton Wilkes-Barre also flashed the leather in this game. In the fifth inning, Mark Payton covered a ton of ground in right field to make a catch near the stands and Tyler Wade, who is learning multiple positions, made a catch in foul territory while sliding near the wall.
The fifth inning is where Scranton Wilkes-Barre would break the game open. Clint Frazier hit a booming double over the right fielder’s head and a wild pitch moved him to third. Choi would then be intentionally walked to bring up Tejada. The second pitch to Reuben was in the dirt and it trickled away from the Chiefs’ catcher Pedro Severino. Clint Frazier took the gamble to race home and barely got his foot to home plate before Severino. The RailRiders would then go up 5-1.
That left Tejada with a 3-0 count at the plate and he was trusted with the green light. He showed why by crushing his second home run of the day to left field. The RailRiders would finish the inning up 7-1. The homeruns by Tejada were his third and fourth of the season.
“I hit a couple of balls hard yesterday but I was unlucky,” Tejada said. “Today was another day and another opportunity to get ready to play and that’s the only thing on my mind.”
Syracuse’s Brandon Snyder blasted a 2-run homerun to right field, cutting the SWB lead to 4 runs, but the rally would end there as Wade picked a ball to his right-hand side at third base. He spun and fired to second to start the inning ending 5-4-3 double play.
Wade turned in more than a glove effort in the game. He narrowly missed his first Triple-A homerun by inches with a ball off the right field wall. He was able to hustle around the bases for his second triple of the year. Fowler would then follow that up with a RBI single to put SWB up 8-3.
After an all-around performance, the RailRiders would finish the game with a 9-3 victory. They have now won seven of their last ten and they secured the series win with tonight’s victory.
Scranton Wilkes-Barre looks to complete the sweep of Syracuse in the series finale at PNC Field for a 1:05PM ET. Greg Ross (1-1, 5.40 ERA) takes the hill for Syracuse and Chad Green (2-1, 4.73 ERA) goes for the RailRiders.