Rochester, N.Y. – A tightrope walk led to a familiar destination as the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders topped the first-place Rochester Red Wings (Minnesota Twins) on Saturday night, 2-1. SWB (31-26) won its 10th straight road game and drew within a half-game of Rochester (30-24) in the IL North. The RailRiders improved to a league-best 13-5 in one-run games.
The RailRiders never trailed thanks to Rob Refsnyder’s run-scoring groundball double play in the first inning that scored Mason Williams. Three straight two-out hits by Rochester tied the game an inning later with Eric Farris driving former SWB infielder Doug Bernier home.
The game’s lone extra-base hit, Ben Gamel’s team-leading sixth triple, started the fifth. Nick Noonan looped a single into shallow right-center to score Gamel for the final tally of the game.
Each starter recorded a decision. SWB’s Kyle Davies (4-3) allowed one run on five hits and one walk over 5.1 innings. Rochester’s Tyler Duffey (0-3) struck out nine over his 5.1 innings but allowed two runs on seven hits and one walk.
Rochester attempted to make it interesting, however Nick Rumbelow stranded an inherited runner in the eighth and stranded a two-out runner of his own in the ninth for a two-inning save. His six bolt downs rank second on the squad.
The RailRiders finish their short two-game set with Rochester on Sunday afternoon at 1:35 p.m. With first place on the line, SWB hands the ball to southpaw Jose De Paula (1-0, 0.00) while Rochester prepares for a bullpen day with right-handed reliever Lester Oliveros (2-1, 2.73) getting the start. SWB returns home to host the Red Wings from June 11-14. The four-game set includes two fireworks nights and a Derek Jeter bobblehead giveaway on Saturday, June 13 courtesy of Allied Services. For tickets or more information, call 570-969-BALL (2255) or visit the team’s website,www.swbrailriders.com.
OFF THE RAILS:
On Sunday, the RailRiders will have a chance to grab sole possession of first place for the first time in the RailRiders era. The franchise last owned the penthouse by itself when the SWB Yankees won the division without a home stadium in 2012. That squad clinched the crown in its last “home” game of the year with a 5-0 defeat of Lehigh Valley at Rochester’s Frontier Field. The RailRiders’ home of PNC Field in Moosic, Pa. was undergoing a season-long reconstruction, forcing the team to play “home” games at six other stadiums. The majority of those games were played at Frontier Field.
SWB had not won 10 consecutive road games since taking its first 10 such affairs in 2009. The 10th triumph in that run was a 17-14 game that took 13 innings and 4:43 at Rochester on April 25.
The RailRiders stand five games above .500 for the first time since the 2013 squad was 20-15 after a 7-6 loss at Gwinnett on May 12.
NEPA’s team has won a season-high-tying five in a row overall. It last did so from May 14-18 when it swept Durham in four games on the road and took a home affair from Charlotte.
SWB improved to 26-1 when leading after eight innings.
Davies has gone 4-0 in five road games (four starts). He is 0-3 in five nods at PNC Field.
Nick Noonan went 3-for-4 with the team’s only RBI.
Rochester went 1-for-5 with men in scoring position and stranded 10 men on base. All eight Red Wings’ hits were singles.
The game-time temperature was 63 degrees with 11 mph winds. The thermometer dipped to 55 before the game’s end.