Cito Culver and RailRiders Beat Rochester in Home Run-Filled Offensive Battle
The Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders outlasted the Red Wings 12-7 Friday night at Frontier Field. The Wings remain 5.5 games behind Lehigh Valley for the wild card playoff spot.
The RailRiders got off to a quick start against Wings starter Jason Wheeler. After allowing a double and walk to start the game, Wheeler nearly escaped the inning on a grounder to third that could have been a double play. After making the out at second, first baseman Reynaldo Rodriguez was out of position and allowed Aaron Judge to make it safely. Donovan Solano hit an RBI single, then Cesar Puello launched a three-run homer to center field to give Scranton a 4-0 lead.
Byron Buxton did his best to regain some momentum for the Wings in the bottom of the first. He singled to left field and stole second before Rodriguez walked. The Wings answered back quickly off of Scranton starter Brady Lail, as Adam Brett Walker hit a three-run homer to left field to put the Wings within one run at 4-3.
Rochester native Cito Culver led off the second inning with a solo homer to give Scranton a 5-3 lead. The home run was the first of Culver's career in Triple-A.
In the third, Solano launched a two-run homer to put Scranton up 7-3.
Buxton answered back in the bottom of the third with a 386-ft homer to third to put the score to 7-4. The Wings couldn't capitalize on the momentum, as Lail set down the next three batters in order.
Wheeler settled down after the third inning and looked dominant. In the fourth, fifth and sixth innings, he allowed just one walk while setting down seven straight batters leading into the seventh.
Lail set down ten straight batters following the home run by Buxton, but the Wings ended that in the sixth. Daniel Palka doubled to end the cold streak, then Rodriguez blasted a two-run homer to left field that was nearly robbed by left fielder Clint Frazier. The homer put the Wings within one run at 7-6.
D.J. Baxendale relieved Wheeler to start the seventh. Wheeler went six innings while allowing seven runs on seven hits, including three home runs, while striking out four and walking three. He threw 97 pitches, 61 of which were strikes. Baxendale struggled with his command to start his outing, as he allowed two straight walks following a double by Ben Gamel. With the bases loaded, Baxendale allowed two straight RBI singles to Solano and Puello. Culver hit a grounder to shortstop that was bobbled by Wilfredo Tovar, which allowed another run to score to put the RailRiders up 10-6.
Jonathan Holder replaced Lail to start the seventh. Lail went six innings while giving up six runs on five hits, including three home runs, while striking out three and walking two. John Ryan Murphy put a dent in Scranton's lead with a solo homer to put the Wings down 10-7, but they weren't able to mount any more momentum.
Judge launched a two-run homer off Neil Ramirez in the top of the eighth inning, improving the RailRiders' lead to 12-7.
Puello had four hits as the RailRiders out-hit the Red Wings 12-7, while each team had four home runs.