ALLENTOWN, PA – The SWB RailRiders (Triple-A/New York Yankees) conjured up some two-out magic all night en route to a 10-1 rout of the Lehigh Valley IronPigs (Philadelphia Phillies) on Thursday night. The RailRiders’ (15-13) third straight win assured them of a winning road trip. The IronPigs (13-13) have dropped three of the teams’ four IronRail Series meetings on the young year.
Former No. 1 overall draft pick Mark Appel retired the first eight RailRiders he faced. Then the wheels came off. Nine-hole hitter Pete Kozma, who entered the game hitting .139, singled through the right-side hole with two outs in the third. After Donovan Solano walked, Aaron Judge smashed a home run off the roof of the left-field bar behind the recessed bullpens to ignite a five-run inning.
In the sixth, Gary Sanchez smacked a two-out three-run homer of his own to left field for an 8-1 lead. Deibinson Romero rounded out the scoring with a two-out two-run homer to left in the seventh. It made for his first hit of the season after an 0-for-12 start.
SWB starter Richard Bleier (1-0) posted the win with seven strong innings of one-run ball. Appel (3-1) took his first loss.
Mountain Top, Pa. native Matt Wotherspoon tossed two scoreless and hitless innings in his Triple-A debut. The former Crestwood H.S. star struck out two and joined Russ Canzler as the only NEPA natives to play for the modern-day SWB franchise.
The RailRiders’ nine-game road trip concludes with a 7:05 p.m. on Friday as SWB tosses Anthony Swarzak (1-3, 4.18) against fellow right-hander Alec Asher (1-0, 0.00).
The RailRiders return home for a nine-game homestand on Saturday, May 7. It starts with a two-game renewal of the IronRail Series against the Lehigh Valley IronPigs (Philadelphia Phillies). The first 1,000 kids in attendance will receive a CHAMP bank courtesy of the Times Leader. It will also be Fit Track Day, a community outreach initiative that helps promote physical activity, healthy eating choices and a good night’s rest for kids. Participating children from area schools will be recognized on the field for their Fit Track efforts. For tickets or more information, please call 570-969-BALL (2255) or visit swbrailriders.com.
OFF THE RAILS:
Rob Refsnyder started in right field for a third straight game. He walked in the third and singled in the seventh. His base knock extended the team’s longest hitting streak of the season to 10 games. He stands tied with Columbus’ Giovanny Ursehla for the longest active string of swinging success in the IL.
Aaron Judge’s team-leading fifth home run was also his third in seven games played on the road trip and his second in as many days. He later also walked and scored. The blast gave him brief solo ownership of the team lead in RBIs (17).
Gary Sanchez went 2-for-4 with a walk and two runs scored. His three-run homer in the sixth tied him with Judge for the top spot on the squad in RBIs.
Before the game, the New York Yankees called up outfielder and usual leadoff man Ben Gamel. Donovan Solano hit first on Thursday. Solano singled, walked, stole a bag and scored a run.
In a corresponding move, southpaw James Pazos was optioned back to SWB on his 25th birthday.
Deibinson Romero’s home run was his first hit since May 25, 2015 when he doubled at Buffalo.
The RailRiders have homered in a season-high four straight games.
SWB had not homered more than twice in a game this year until Thursday night.
Lehigh Valley first baseman Brock Stassi pitched a perfect ninth inning. The 2015 Eastern League MVP has yet to allow a run in 8.1 professional innings. He also tossed a scoreless inning for Lehigh Valley on April 14 in a 13-1 loss to Pawtucket.
The paid crowd of 7,373 was the biggest to see the RailRiders on the road this season.