MOOSIC — It took exactly one year, but the RailRiders finally stopped being dominated by Rochester.
Scranton/Wilkes-Barre entered Thursday’s doubleheader at PNC Field losing 10 of the last 11 games against the Red Wings, losing every series since SWB took one exactly one year ago Thursday.
But those stats evaporated as the RailRiders swept the twinbill in walk-off fashion, winning the first game 5-4 before taking the nightcap 1-0.
The night ended with a blast off the bat of Adonis Garcia, who crushed a 2-1 pitch from A.J. Achter well out to left near the billboards for the second walk-off homer this season for the RailRiders and second of the homestand. Rob Refsnyder hit one on July 4.
The homer for Garcia capped a solid game at the plate for the Cuban as he reached base five straight times spanning the two games and ended the day a combined 4 for 6. He finished a double short of the cycle in the two games, scoring three runs and knocking in one. He also received a Gatorade bath at home plate by his teammates after the game-ending hit.
His homer capped a brilliant combined pitching performance by Jeremy Bleich and Joel De La Cruz.
Bleich got the start going three scoreless innings and De La Cruz picked up where Bleich left off, pitching four scoreless innings. The two pitchers only allowed five hits in the shutout and no runners advanced past second base in the game.
The closest Rochester came to scoring in the nightcap came in the fifth inning when Pedro Florimon and James Beresford singled. But De La Cruz got a pair of fielder’s choices to get out of the jam.
In the opener, Scranton/Wilkes-Barre got an unconventional walk-off victory.
After Garcia walked to start the seventh, he was sacrificed to second by Austin Romine and moved to third on a single by John Ryan Murphy before scoring on a fielder’s choice by Kyle Roller for the victory.
But it wasn’t the normal fielder’s choice. Roller hit a roller down the first base line. Rochester first baseman Nate Hanson and pitcher Ryan Presley both went after the ball, but ran into each other as Garcia crossed the plate.
The RailRiders opened a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the first on a two-run shot by Rob Refsnyder. It was Refsnyder’s sixth home run for the RailRiders, which leads the International League since he hit his first one on June 22.
Bruce Billings made his first appearance for the RailRiders since June 30 after he spent three days with the Yankees. He took some time to settle in, but after a rough second inning when six Red Wings came to the plate to tie the score at 2-2, he didn’t allow a runner to advance past second base, scattering only three singles the rest of the way.
But after a one-out walk to Chris Rahl put runners at first and second in the top of the seventh and he was at 97 pitches, manager Dave Miley took the ball. The Hall of Fame skipper went to Diego Moreno, who allowed both inherited runners to score giving up consecutive singles to tie the game at 4-4.
SWB took a 4-2 lead in the bottom of the fifth, sending eight batters to the plate. Jose Pirela gave the RailRiders a 3-2 lead with a solo shot. Dan Fiorito, who was promoted prior to the game from Double-A Trenton and made his first appearance for the team since last season, went 2 for 2 in the first game and added a bases-loaded walk in the fifth for the RailRiders’ fourth run.