Editor’s note: The RailRiders game was in a rain delay in the 12th inning at press time tied at 6.
MOOSIC - Talk about unsung heroes.
When relief pitcher Jim Miller entered the game, his Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders seemed hopelessly behind and about to suffer more damage along the way.
Miller prevented the game from completely getting away.
And by the time he was done, the RailRiders somehow got right back into it, rallying from a five-run deficit against Syracuse to forge a 6-6 tie that lasted as the teams headed into the 12th inning Friday at rainy PNC Field.
The game was suspended by rain at that point as the teams went into a rain delay after the 11th inning, with steady rain through the 10th and 11th forming puddles on the shortstop area of the infield. The contest will be continued, but in Syracuse at a time and date to be determined.
Miller was a big reason the game got that far, coming out of the bullpen to pitch 2 2/3 scoreless innings, striking out three along the way and giving the RailRiders a chance to come back.
That they did, using Corey Patterson’s two-run double to fuel a four-run sixth inning that brought the RailRiders within a run.
That comeback probably wouldn’t have meant much without Miller, stranded runners at second and third after taking the mound in the sixth inning by recording a strikeout and an inning-ending ground out.
Miller finished his night with 2 2/3 scoreless innings, and stemmed an avalanche of runs that threated to bury the RailRiders.
The scoring started early, most of it by Syracuse.
The Chiefs made it a rough night for RailRiders starter David Huff, who surrendered six runs and 11 hits during his 5 1/3 innings of work and left the game trailing 6-1.
It could have been worse, but Huff escaped a bases-loaded, one-out jam unscathed in the third inning by recording two straight strikeouts.
He wasn’t as fortunate the rest of his night.
Josh Johnson rocketed a triple off the outstretched glove of RailRiders right fielder Fernando Martinez in the second inning, then scored when Jhonatan Solano socked a double off the bottom of the center field wall for a 2-0 Chiefs lead.
Scranton/Wilkes-Barre got a run back in the fourth, when Brent Lillibridge kept the longest hitting streak of the season going for the RailRiders at 13 games with a triple into the right-center field gap and a single by Martinez brought him home.
But the game appeared to get away from the RailRiders in the fifth inning, when Syracuse hammered Huff for three runs.
The barrage began when Tyler Moore and Chris Marrero drilled back-to-back doubles for one run. Johnson later delivered Marrero with a run-scoring single, and Solano’s second RBI - a deep sacrifice fly to center - brought Jeff Kobernus home with a 5-1 Chiefs lead.
That grew to 6-1 in the sixth, when Chris Rahl singled for his third hit of the night, stole second base and crossed the plate on Moore’s RBI single.
Then Syracuse starter Yunesky Maya ran into his own struggles.
J.R. Murphy started a four-run uprising for the RailRiders with a leadoff single in the sixth inning, and came around to score on a single by Randy Ruiz. David Adams drew a two-out walk, and Corey Patterson slammed a two-run double to score Ruiz and Adams. Patterson got the RailRiders within a run when he crossed the plate on Thomas Neal’s single.
Then Fernando Martinez tied it in the seventh, slicing a one-out, opposite-field home run into the left field bullpen to even the score at 6-6.
The RailRiders had a chance to end the game in the bottom of the ninth, when J.R. Murphy legged out a one-out infield single and eventually moved to third base on a long fly out. But RailRiders cleanup man Dan Johnson was called out on strikes to end the threat.