ROCHESTER, N.Y. – It’d be better at home anyway. Needing a win to cement their first division title since 2012, the SWB RailRiders fell victim to the hanging-by-a-thread Rochester Red Wings (Minnesota Twins) on Wednesday night, 8-1. The RailRiders (78-61) have a magic number of one and need just one win the rest of the way, or a Red Wings’ (73-66) loss, to clinch the IL North title.
The Red Wings assembled a picket fence with single scores in each of the game’s first four innings against starter Kyle Haynes (3-2). The barrage included leadoff homers by Danny Ortiz in back-to-back at-bats, sparking the second and fourth innings.
During that time, SWB secured its lone run when Rochester native Cito Culver tripled at the start of the third and later scored on a Gregorio Petit groundout.
The RailRiders entered the seventh in shouting distance, down 4-1. However, the Red Wings sent all nine men to the plate in a four-run frame highlighted by a three-run homer from Aaron Hicks as part of a 4-for-4 night that saw him fall a triple shy of the cycle.
Haynes allowed four runs on six hits and a walk over five innings. He gave up two homers, tossed a wild pitch and was called for a balk. His counterpart, Taylor Rogers (10-12), picked up the win with seven innings of one-run ball. Rogers whiffed seven and walked one.
The RailRiders will host “Mariano Rivera Day” on Thursday, Sept. 3 against the Buffalo Bisons (Toronto Blue Jays) with an appearance by the Yankees’ legendary closer himself. The team’s final regular-season home series of the season, a short two-game set, will open with a battle of southpaws. SWB’s Eric Wooten (2-5, 4.73) will face Buffalo’s Andrew Albers (2-10, 5.20). For more information please call (570) 969-BALL (2255) or visit swbrailriders.com.
OFF THE RAILS:
SWB right-hander Conor Mullee made his Triple-A debut with 1.2 scoreless innings of relief. He became the 74th different RailRider to see game action this season, breaking the franchise record of 73 established in 2013. Should a single new face get playing time before the regular-season finale, the RailRiders would tie the International League’s all-time record for players used in a campaign. The 2012 Norfolk Tides employed the services of 75 men to set the mark. The Tides also tied the record with 25 different starting pitchers. The RailRiders have used 24 different starting hurlers.