MOOSIC – For the second straight outing, Chien-Ming Wang gave Scranton/Wilkes-Barre a solid performance.
Unfortunately for the Taiwan-born right-hander and the RailRiders, it wasn’t enough because Columbus pitchers were a little better.
Columbus took advantage of a Gil Velazquez error in the top of the third with two outs to plate two unearned runs after the miscue en route to a 4-1 win Thursday night at PNC Field.
Wang, making his second start for the RailRiders, retired the first six batters he faced before Mike McDade led off the third with a double. Wang was nearly out of the jam until shortstop Velazquez bobbled a grounder to extend the inning. That miscue led to two Clippers runs and Wang facing three more batters and throwing 20 more pitches in the frame, one which was a wild pitch scoring a run for a 1-0 deficit. Matt Lawson gave Columbus a 2-0 lead with an RBI-single in the inning and Jeremy Hermida walked before Wang finally got out of the inning.
“Today was better than last time. My control was much better,” said Wang, who went 5 1/3 shutout innings last week against Syracuse but still saw his record fall to 1-1. “I felt stronger this time out.”
The rest of the outing Wang’s sinker and sinking slider were working to near perfection and he retired 10 of the next 11 batters with nine of them coming via groundball outs. The only baserunner allowed in that time was a four-pitch walk to Ryan Rohlinger. Of all the outs he recorded in 6 2/3 innings, 13 of them were on the ground. He fanned two in throwing 82 pitches, 51 of them for strikes. He faced 27 batters and threw a first-pitch strike to 20 of them. One of the four hits he allowed was an infield single that took a long time to get to Velazquez. The third run that was charged to Wang was an inherited runner allowed to score by Juan Cedeno in the top of the seventh.
He started working the game getting out the game’s first six batters and eight of the first nine, the only hit being the double by McDade.
“That’s how the game is. I just have to get the ball down more,” Wang added. “In the first inning I was getting the ball down.”
The RailRiders offense was held in check by five Columbus pitchers. Clippers righty Carlos Carrasco, who was once the blue chip prospect sent to Cleveland from Philadelphia in the 2009 trade that sent Cliff Lee to Philadelphia, got the start and was very good for the first four innings only giving up three hits and a walk to go with three strikeouts. But he had to leave the game in the bottom of the fifth after getting hit with a line drive to his pitching elbow. The right-hander was struck by a ball off the bat of Corban Joseph. Carrasco was taken to the hospital and there were no updates on his condition before the game ended.
He was removed with two outs in the frame and two runners on, but Giovanni Soto relieved him and got David Adams (2-for-4) to ground out to end the threat. SWB pounded out eight hits, but left seven runners on base and went 0-for-11 with runners in scoring position.
Austin Romine got the home team on the board in the bottom of the ninth with his first home run of the season, a blast that was crushed over the bullpen in left field.