RailRiders debut of Yangervis Solarte provides spark in defeat

Last updated: July 05. 2014 10:44PM - 493 Views
By - psokoloski@timesleader.com

RailRiders lead-off hitter Jose Pirela dives away from a high fastball caught by Buffalo catcher Erik Kratz at PNC Field in Moosic on Saturday night.
RailRiders lead-off hitter Jose Pirela dives away from a high fastball caught by Buffalo catcher Erik Kratz at PNC Field in Moosic on Saturday night.
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MOOSIC — Welcome to Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, Yangervis Solarte.

The recently-demoted New York Yankees infielder didn’t waste any time working on his next promotion.

Solarte slammed three hits in his first three at-bats for the RailRiders and started a slick double play Saturday, sparking Scranton/Wilkes-Barre before a four-run rally carried Buffalo to a 6-3 victory and a two-game split of the series at PNC Field.

Solarte’s third hit of the night helped set up a two-run rally that gave the RailRiders a 3-2 lead in the sixth inning, but it didn’t last.

The Bisons, who let one get away Friday when Rob Refsnyder’s three-run homer in the ninth inning beat them 7-6, pulled a late-game rally of their own by batting around in the eighth inning to try and avoid a two-game series sweep.

Cory Aldridge started the surge with a single to center, then former RailRider Dan Johnson drew a walk. Ex-Phillies catcher Erik Kratz clubbed an RBI double to tie the game 3-3, the A.J. Jimenez used a sacrifice fly to bring home Johnson with a 4-3 Buffalo lead.

But the Bisons were hardly finished.

Andy LaRoche ripped a double to score Kratz and Jonathan Diaz followed with an RBI double of his own for a 6-3 Buffalo advantage.

That didn’t diminish the dynamic debut of Solarte in Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.

His impact on the RailRiders began early, and it began around the third-base bag.

In his first trip to the plate for the RailRiders, Solarte sent a high chopper to third, and beat the throw to first base for an infield hit to start the second inning. In the top of the third, Solarte made a spectacular backhanded snag down the third base line on a shot off the bat of Kevin Pillar, and turned it into an inning-ending double play.

That was only the beginning of Solarte’s opening act with the RailRiders.

He sent a hard single to left field in the fourth inning, then was right in the middle of a go-ahead rally in the sixth when Solarte sent an opposite-field double to the base of the left field wall. That blow sent Kyle Roller to third base, and Roller wound up scoring the go-ahead run on a wild pitch to give Scranton/Wilkes-Barre a 3-2 lead.

Solarte finished his night by drawing a one-out walk in the eighth inning, meaning he reached base on all four of his trips to the plate.

It was even more impressive than Solarte’s start to the season for the parent Yankees, where he was an early candidate to join the conversation for American League rookie of the year.

Solarte was batting .260 overall but in a difficult slump when he was demoted to Triple-A this week. But he hit .303 for the Yankees in April and had a .296 batting average through the month of May before tailing off the past couple of months.

To complement him, John Ryan Murphy and Zoilo Almonte both hit solo homers for the RailRiders.

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