MOOSIC — The rough home start for Scranton/Wilkes-Barre continued on Tuesday night.
Though the RailRiders were in the game all the way through the contest at PNC Field, a ninth-inning home run by Rochester star Chris Colabello led the Red Wings to a 2-1 victory as the RailRiders fell to 1-5 early in the season.
Lefty starter Vidal Nuno looked strong in his second start of the season and first since Opening Day. He set down the first 10 batters he faced on the night before allowing a one-out double to Brandon Boggs in the top of the fourth. He got out of the one-out jam inducing one of his five groundball outs on the night then whiffing Colabello, the reigning International League Player of the Week.
He had good command throwing first-pitch strikes to 17 of the 25 batters he faced. He threw 85 pitches with 60 of them going for strikes. He seemed to be getting stronger in the seventh inning.
“It’s very important (to throw first-pitch strikes) because you get down in the count the hitters have better leverage of picking a pitch or knowing that you have to groove something in there to not walk them,” Nuno said. “My arm feels amazing, so I’m just taking it day-by-day now.”
Nuno was on his game all night. He didn’t allow any walks and only gave up three hits, while striking out six. One of the hits he allowed came in the top of the sixth when Boggs (2-for-4) clubbed a two-out home run.
“We lost by one run, but it’s baseball we’ll come back and get them tomorrow,” Nuno said. “It was just bad location (on the home run) trying to overthrow. I got to tell myself try not to get amped up. But it’s just one pitch that turned the ballgame around a little bit and tied it up.”
Boggs’ longball tied the score at 1-1 in the sixth. The RailRiders had taken a 1-0 lead the inning before. They loaded the bases with no outs for Thomas Neal, who has been the team’s top run producer so far this season with seven RBI. He got the run home but at the expense of a double play.
After Gil Velazquez walked, Melky Mesa struck out to end the threat.
The game remained tied until the top of the ninth with Yankees prospect Mark Montgomery in his second inning of relief taking over for Nuno. The good news for the right-hander is he fanned five in his two innings of work. The bad news is he allowed two hits, and the last one cost the RailRiders the game.
After striking out Jeff Clement, Colabello showed why he was honored earlier in the week crushing a home run to left field for the 2-1 advantage.
The RailRiders offensive struggles continued on the night going 0-for-7 with runners in scoring position and struck out 12 times. In the first six games of the season the team has whiffed 65 times and have a team batting average of .209.