Lehigh Valley Pushes SWB into IL North Basement
Moosic, Pa. – After completing their first road sweep of the Lehigh Valley IronPigs (Philadelphia Phillies) since 2011, the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders (Triple-A/New York Yankees) got a taste of their own medicine. The RailRiders never led as they dropped a 3-2 finale to the Pigs and suffered their own broom-cleaning on the short two-game set. The result catapulted Lehigh Valley out of last place and thrust the RailRiders into the division’s basement by a half-game.
Three Lehigh Valley doubles added up to two runs in the opening inning against Alfredo Aceves (0-1). Former RailRider and NEPA native Russ Canzler drove in the Leandro Castro while Jim Murphy’s first-pitch swing then plated Canzler. Murphy doubled at the start of the fourth and later scored on Nate Spears’ single through the right-side hole of a drawn-in infield.
SWB alumnus Greg Smith (7-5) carried a shutout into the sixth without allowing a man beyond first base. After striking out Jose Pirela to start the inning, he walked Rob Refsnyder on a full-count pitch. The switch-hitting Zoilo Almonte then stood in batting righty and against his own 3-2 delivery bombed an impressive home run to left. Almonte’s first right-side homer of the year was his team-leading 12th of the season and made it 3-2.
It also chased Smith in favor of Phillippe Aumont who loaded the bases when Kyle Roller, John Ryan Murphy and Scott Sizemore all reached in succession. But a down-and-away off-speed pitch got Austin Romine to strike out swinging.
Aumont worked around a Pirela single in the seventh and Cesar Jimenez did the same with a Roller double in the eighth before Luis Garcia posted a 1-2-3 ninth for his 15th save in 16 tries.
The RailRiders hit the road for a short three-game, two-day journey to Buffalo to face the Bisons (Toronto Blue Jays). A Wednesday doubleheader gets underway at 5:35 p.m. with right-hander Shane Greene (5-2, 5.07) facing fellow righty P.J. Walters (2-0, 1.50). The nightcap features southpaws Nik Turley (0-1, 6.23) and Raul Valdes (3-1, 3.70). John Sadak will have the call on radio with the pregame show beginning at 5:05 p.m. on NEPA Sports Radio – The GAME, Northeast PA’s largest sports radio network: 100.7 FM, 1340 WYCK-AM, 1400 WICK-AM, 1440 WCDL-AM and 106.7 FM. For ticket information or to book a group outing, call (570) 969-BALL (2255) or visit swbrailriders.com.
OFF THE RAILS:
- The RailRiders trail the IronRail race, 8-4. They now must win the last four meetings including the Labor Day regular-season finale to defend their IronRail title. Last year’s team won four of the final five to claim the rivalry trophy in the formal IronRail series’ inaugural season.
- Zoilo Almonte entered the game hitting .153 (9-for-59) as a right-handed hitter. He had more homers as a lefty (11) than hits as a righty. He posted two right-side hits in the game, both against Greg Smith.
- Robert Coello and Pat Venditte combined on 3.2 scoreless innings of relief with eight strikeouts. Each man stranded two inherited runners.
- In his first trip back to PNC Field since he was released by the New York Yankees, former RailRider Russ Canzler went 4-for-10 with a double, a homer, four RBIs and three runs scored over the short two-game set.
- Earlier in the day, Jose Pirela was named the IL’s June Player of the Month. He then went 2-for-5 as the leadoff man.
- The New York Yankees also promoted Jim Miller to the bigs before the game and optioned Jose Ramirez back to SWB. In 26 appearances, Miller went 4-2 with two saves in three tries as a RailRider. He posted a 2.85 ERA and struck out 43 men in 41 innings. He stranded eight of 14 inherited runners and held the league to a .227 batting average. Ramirez made eight appearances for the Yankees, going 0-2 with a 5.40 ERA. He struck out 10 men in 10 innings, but also allowed 11 hits and issued seven walks. He took the loss for the Bombers in a 12-inning loss to Tampa Bay on Monday.
– SWB RailRiders – All Aboard! –