What a start to the fireworks show. Rob Refsnyder sent the RailRiders into a special 4th of July celebration by driving a two-out, three-run homer just over the left-center field wall in the bottom of the ninth inning to lift the RailRiders to a 7-6 victory. That made for a remarkable comeback from a game of sloppy struggles for the RailRiders, who trailed from the start until finally digging out a victory at the very end.
RailRiders at the plate: Refsnyder had the big blow with his walk-off blast, which was his fourth homer the season. He also added a single that started a two-run rally in the eighth. Scott Sizemore continued his eight-game hitting streak by going 3 for 4 with a double and two RBI, but made a bad decision trying to turn his run-scoring single into a double in the eighth inning. The hit closed the gap to 5-4, but the two-run rally ended when Sizemore was easily thrown out at second base. Kyle Roller keeps rocking for the RailRiders, as he roped two doubles and scored after both of them. John Ryan Murphy put a nice swing on his RBI double to deep right field in the second inning.
RailRiders on the mound: Relief pitcher Danny Burawa struck out six of the seven batters he faced over the seventh and eighth innings to give the RailRiders a chance. Meanwhile, Burawa recorded the most strikeouts in one outing by a RailRiders reliever this season. Fellow relief pitcher Pat Venditte was steady, pitching two scoreless innings during the fifth and sixth. Starter Joel De La Cruz struggled, surrendering two wild pitches that lead to two runs in the first inning and giving up two home runs that put the RailRiders in a hole. He did finish his outing on a high note, though, retiring the final four batters he faced. Jose Ramirez let loose a key run-scoring wild pitch in the ninth inning that boosted Buffalo’s lead back to two runs. As it turned out, Ramirez wound up getting the win.
Riding the Rails: Relief pitcher Ramirez officially reported to the RailRiders on Thursday after being optioned to Triple A by the parent New York Yankees on Monday and worked the ninth inning for Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.
Time of Game: 3:16
Today’s Game: The RailRiders close their two-game home series against Buffalo with tonight’s 7:05 p.m. game at PNC Field.
Today’s Probables: RailRiders RHP Bruce Billings (4-5, 5.31) vs. Buffalo RHP Aaron Sanchez (0-1, 4.43).
On Deck: The RailRiders open a three-game series with Charlotte with a televised game at 7:05 p.m. Sunday.
On the Radio: All games can be heard on NEPA Sports Radio WYCK 1340-AM, 1400-AM, 1440-AM, 100.7-FM and 106.7-FM.
HOW THEY SCORED
BUFFALO FIRST: Cory Aldridge, just up from the Mexican League, looped a single to right field and moved to second base on a wild pitch. He scored on a two-out single to left field by former RailRider Dan Johnson. Johnson scooted to second base on another wild pitch, and rode home when right fielder Adonis Garcia couldn’t pick up a bloop single by former Phillies backup catcher Erik Kratz. BUFFALO 2-0.
BUFFALO SECOND: Ryan Schimpf ripped a double just past the stab of right fielder Garcia to start the inning, and two outs later, Aldridge drove a long two-run homer over the right field wall. BUFFALO 4-0.
RAILRIDERS SECOND: Kyle Roller, Scott Sizemore and John Ryan Murphy all slammed consecutive doubles, with Roller scoring on Sizemore’s and Sizemore scoring on Murphy’s. BUFFALO 4-2.
BUFFALO THIRD: Schimpf towered a deep, two-out homer that hugged the line in right field, a drive that got RailRiders manager Dave Miley tossed for insisting the ball was foul. BUFFALO 5-2.
RAILRIDERS EIGHTH: Rob Refsnyder triggered a two-run rally with a sharp single to center field. Two outs later, Roller ripped his second double of the night to score Refsnyder. Sizemore, on an eight-game hitting streak, slammed a single into left field that brought home Roller. BUFFALO 5-4.
BUFFALO NINTH: Aldridge walked, Kevin Pillar slammed a double and Johnson was intentionally walked to fill the bases. With two outs, RailRiders relief pitcher Jose Ramirez uncorked a wild pitch that brought pinch runner Jonathan Diaz home from third base. BUFFALO 6-4.
RAILRIDERS NINTH: Carmen Angelini laced a two-out triple into the right field corner. Jose Pirela was hit by a pitch, then Rob Refsnyder drove a three-run home run just over the left-center field wall. RAILRIDERS 7-6.