Pawtucket, R.I. – The start of the day was about the parent club’s rehabbing ace. When the dust settled, a see-saw series finale was arguably most influenced by the nine-hole hitter. Cole Figueroa went 5-for-5 with five RBIs as his Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders completed a three-game sweep of the Pawtucket Red Sox (Boston Red Sox) on Wednesday afternoon, 9-6. SWB (25-23) posted its seventh straight road win while Pawtucket (24-24) fell for the fifth time in a row, both overall and against the RailRiders.
Masahiro Tanaka tossed three innings in his second rehab start with SWB. He allowed three runs on four hits and two walks while whiffing four on 62 pitches (44 strikes). He gave up a home run to Jackie Bradley, Jr. and battled field conditions when clumps of the mound came loose in the opening inning. That prompted an eight-minute delay for emergency work by the grounds crew.
Single scores in the seventh, eighth and ninth allowed the RailRiders to break away from a 6-6 tie. The last two runs were knocked home by Figueroa who fell a triple shy of the cycle as he tied the franchise record for hits in a game.
Behind Tanaka, Kyle Davies (3-3) fired five innings of three-run ball for the win while Branden Pinder tossed a perfect ninth for his first save. Pawtucket reliever John Cornely (2-3) surrendered two runs on five hits and two walks over 1.2 innings for the loss.
The RailRiders return home on Friday, May 29 to face the Norfolk Tides (Baltimore Orioles) in the first of a six-game homestand. Prospect right-hander Bryan Mitchell (2-4, 3.80) is scheduled to face southpaw Chris Jones (1-2, 2.97). It will sport Friday Fireworks presented by Jack Williams Tire & Kumho Tire, a Fit Track School Day thanks to Odak and Strike Out Stroke Night presented by Geisinger Health Systems. For tickets or more information, call 570-969-BALL (2255) or visit the team’s website, www.swbrailriders.com.
OFF THE RAILS:
Cole Figueroa set a new career-high mark with five hits. He posted a career-high-tying five RBIs for the first time since an April 6, 2012 effort at Pensacola while with Double-A Montgomery under the Rays’ umbrella. Figueroa became the first RailRider to post five hits since Jose Pirela went 5-for-6 at Indianapolis on June 1, 2014. He is the first RailRider to drive in five runs since Zoilo Almonte hammered home seven runs at Gwinnett on July 23, 2014.
Austin Romine went 4-for-5 with three runs scored. After an 0-for-3 effort at Norfolk dropped his average to .197 on May 11, Romine has gone 11-for-31 (.355) to lift his average to .246. He has not owned an average that high since he was at .286 after his second game of the season made him 2-for-7 on the year.
Ben Gamel went 3-for-5 with a run scored. He leads the team with 16 multi-hit games on the year. He went 6-for-13 on the road trip.
Going back to last season, the RailRiders have won their last 10 games at McCoy Stadium. The last loss came on May 17, 2014 in the team’s first contest in Pawtucket last season.
SWB had not swept Pawtucket in three games at McCoy Stadium since a rain-shortened set went all SWB’s way from April 13-16, 2007.