Durham, N.C. – Extra-base hits by the offense and impressive impromptu pitching carried the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders (Triple-A/New York Yankees) to a 3-2 defeat of the Durham Bulls (Tampa Bay Rays) on Saturday. SWB’s (19-18) third straight win has it over .500 for the first time since the Opening Day win over Syracuse. The Bulls (20-17) lost for the fifth time in six games.
The originally-scheduled starter, prospect right-hander Bryan Mitchell, was whisked back to the bigs by the Yankees earlier in the day. That set the stage for Joel De La Cruz (3-0) who tossed five solid innings in his first start of the season. The right-hander rebounded from a first-inning two-run homer by Nick Franklin. He allowed just one batter beyond first base after Franklin’s blast.
In the fifth, back-to-back doubles by Nick Noonan and Cole Figueroa got the RailRiders a run against starter Dylan Floro (3-4). An inning later, Kyle Roller bombed his team-leading sixth home run to straightaway center field for the 3-2 score that would go final.
The RailRiders held on thanks to outstanding 2015 SWB debuts by Caleb Cotham and Mark Montgomery. Cotham struck out six over three perfect innings on 45 pitches (30 strikes). Montgomery worked around a leadoff single in the ninth to earn a save. The game ended on a nimbly-turned 5-4-3 double play ignited by Figueroa’s backhanded glove and pivoted well at second by Rob Refsnyder.
The RailRiders’ seven-game road trip concludes on Sunday afternoon at 1:05 p.m. SWB has yet to name a probable starter. Durham will look to southpaw Everett Teaford (2-2, 5.70).
The RailRiders return home on Monday, May 18 to start a seven-game homestand with the first of three against the Charlotte Knights (Chicago White Sox). It will be a Dollar Dog Night with all hot dogs priced at $1. For tickets or more information, call 570-969-BALL (2255) or visit the team’s website, www.swbrailriders.com.
OFF THE RAILS:
Rob Refsnyder singled twice and scored once as he extended the league’s best active on-base streak to 18 games.
Durham struggled to get men on base. Thanks in part to a pair of double plays turned by the RailRiders, the Bulls left just three men on base and went 0-for-1 with men in scoring position.
Other roster moves before the game saw reliever Jared Burton released by the Yankees while the big club optioned right-hander Jose Ramirez back to SWB and southpaw Miguel Sulbaran joined the RailRiders from Double-A Trenton.
The RailRiders played in front of their biggest crowd of the season. On Star Wars Night at the DBAP, the paid attendance was announced at 10,882.
The game took just 2:08 to play.
Cole Figueroa went 2-for-4 with an RBI double. He has gone 4-for-9 with three doubles and two RBIs on the series against his former club.
SWB improved to 9-4 in one-run games.
On Sunday, the RailRiders will try to lift their record to two games above .500 for the first time since the 2014 squad was 29-27 after a June 2 victory at Indianapolis.