With Luis Severino on the hill, the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders came out victorious on Wednesday night against the Syracuse Chiefs. The RailRiders faced off against a former Yankee, Jaron Long who is also the son of Mets hitting coach Kevin Long.
In the top of the first, third basemen Donovan Solano singled to left field. After an Aaron Judge fly out, Gary Sanchez turned on an inside fastball and singled on a soft line drive to left field. Tyler Austin then drew an eight-pitch walk, plating Jake Cave. Cave hit a 0-1 change up from Long into left-center field for a two-run single, giving the RailRiders an early 2-0 lead.
Severino gave those two runs right back to Syracuse as he struggled in the bottom of the opening frame. The highly touted Washington Nationals prospect, Trey Turner, led off with a line-drive double to right field. The next batter, Caleb Ramsey, hit a line drive single to center field. Severino then fell behind Brian Goodwin 3-0. The center fielder then turned on a 3-1, 97 miles per hour inside fastball for an RBI single to right field. Chiefs’ first basemen Matt Skole then hit a ground ball that just got through the middle of the infield for an RBI single.
Both pitchers settled into the game following the combined four runs first inning. The RailRiders got back on the board in the top of the 6th inning when Erik Davis was brought into the game to replace Long. Shortstop Pete Kozma reached on an error by Chiefs third basemen Jason Martinson. Second basemen Jonathan Diaz was successful on a sacrifice bunt to move Kozma over to second base. Ben Gamel then hit a ground ball into left field for a single. On a very close play, Solano drove in Kozma as he hit a 2-2 curveball for a 6-4 fielder’s choice.
Scranton’s bats erupted for a five-run top of the seventh. On a 3-2 offering from Davis, Jake Cave hit an infield single. Designated Hitter Cesar Puello then hit a 0-1 fastball that just got underneath the glove of the second basemen Chris Bostick for a single. Cave was aggressive on the base paths, advancing to third base on the play. Puello then stole his sixth base of the season (eight attempts) on a 1-0 pitch to Pete Kozma. Following the stolen base, Kozma hit a sac fly to plate Cave on a medium hit flies ball to right field. As the ball got away from Chiefs catcher Pedro Severino, Puello advanced to third on the play. On the first pitch to Ben Gamel, Puello scored on a wild pitch. After Gamel was intentionally walked, Nick Masset entered the game to replace Davis. Donovan Solano hit a 1-0 fastball for a line drive single to right field. Caleb Ramsey made an error on the play as two runs scored and Solano advanced to third. The reigning International League Batter of the Week, Aaron Judge, then turned on a first-pitch fastball that was laced to left field for an RBI single.
In the following frame, Scranton padded its 8-2 lead by adding three more runs in the top of the eighth. Tyler Austin hit a first-pitch double off of the right-field wall to begin the inning. Jake Cave followed that up with a line drive single to center field, moving Austin to third. Cesar Puello then hit a 3-2 fastball into center field for a sacrifice fly. After Pete Kozma hit into a 4-6 fielder’s choice, Jonathan Diaz sent a 2-0 fastball over the left field wall for his first home run of the season.
After overcoming a rocky 32 pitch first inning, Luis Severino pitched great. His fastball touched 99 miles per hour multiple times over the course of his outing, and featured a tremendous slider and change up. Severino was successful in getting ahead of hitters by throwing first-pitch strikes to begin each at bat. He finished the game throwing 100 pitches on the evening, 73 of them were strikes. The only time Luis was ineffective, was when he left pitches up and in the middle of the zone. This lack of command in the strike zone is what hurt him at the beginning of the season at the Major League level. After the first, he corrected this issue and worked the strike zone both north and south and east and west effectively.
Chasen Shreve, Johnny Barbato, and Mark Montgomery were absolutely dominant in their relief appearances tonight. Shreve and Barbato retired six of seven batters faced, striking out all of them. Shreve featured swing and miss stuff throughout his outing. The first batter he faced, swung and missed on three straight pitches. Chasen got ahead of hitters early and finished them off with his electric slider. Barbato attacked hitters with his fastball, threw his off-speed offerings for strikes and was able to stay around the strike zone with close misses. Mark Montgomery was also brilliant pitching in the 9th. He struck out two and allowed just one hit.
With the victory, Scranton improves on the International League’s best record (48-32) and completes a three-game sweep of the last-place Chiefs. It also extends the RailRiders current winning streak to four games and pads its first place lead over the Rochester Red Wings to two games.
First pitch was recorded at NBT Bank Stadium at 6:35 pm. Syracuse hosted its first ever Pride Night this evening. They had a pregame ceremony honoring the victims of the recent Orlando, Florida shootings. Syracuse also held an auction, with the proceeds being donated to aid the victims and their families. The attendance was 5,517, and many donned Yankees apparel. The RailRiders are back in action tomorrow night against the Buffalo Bisons. First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 pm.
Prior to tonight’s contest, Aaron Judge, Gary Sanchez, Ben Gamel and Chad Green were named as Scranton’s representatives in the 2016 Triple-A All-Star Game. The mid-summer classic will take place on July 13, 2016, at BB&T Ballpark in Charlotte, North Carolina.