Last updated: August 24. 2013 1:18AM - 1408 Views
By DAVE ROSENGRANT drosengrant@timesleader.com



RailRiders designated hitter Randy Ruiz flips his bat as he runs down the first base line for a single against Pawtucket at PNC Field in Moosic on Friday night.
RailRiders designated hitter Randy Ruiz flips his bat as he runs down the first base line for a single against Pawtucket at PNC Field in Moosic on Friday night.
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MOOSIC – Last time Caleb Cotham stepped on the mound to pitch against Pawtucket, the RailRiders pitcher didn’t fare very well.


But that was nearly eight weeks ago and the 25-year-old right-hander is now a different pitcher than July 3, when he was charged with nine runs and couldn’t get out of the fifth inning.


His improvement was shown again on Friday night against the PawSox as he pitched 6 1-3 shutout innings extending his scoreless inning streak to 17 1-3 and leading the RailRiders to a 4-1 win over the PawSox at PNC Field.


After the start in Rhode Island in early July, Cotham’s ERA ballooned to 7.49. After Friday, the mark is all the way down to 4.82; the first time it’s under 5.00 since his first Triple-A appearance on May 9.


“I think the difference right now is I’m not making too much out of a hit here, a walk there,” Cotham said. “I’m able to get back on track a little quicker. I’m definitely pitching with confidence and it’s nice to have the results.”


Pawtucket had plenty of opportunities outhitting the RailRiders 7-6 in the first six innings, but Cotham pitched out of any trouble.


In innings two through five Cotham allowed one-out hits, but got out of each frame without giving up any runs. The biggest jam the PawSox put Cotham in came in the sixth, when Pawtucket got consecutive hits to start the inning before he induced a doubleplay grounder for two outs. After giving up a two-out walk to put runners on first and third, Cotham got Tony Thomas via a swinging strikeout to end the inning.


“I executed the pitch and fortunately it went right to (third baseman Brent) Lillibridge and he made a nice play,” Cotham said about the twin-killer. “I was trying to force contact and fortunate enough Lillibridge made a great play to get out of it.”


In the seventh, Jeremy Hazelbaker hit a one-out double to chase Cotham. But Dellin Betances entered and got two strikeouts to strand the runner there.


Cotham received some early support from his offense. In the bottom of the second, Randy Ruiz and Ronnier Mustelier registered consecutive hits to lead off the frame and put runners on second and third. One out later, catcher J.R. Murphy brought them in with a single for a 2-0 lead.


“He threw the ball well,” rehabbing Yankee captain Derek Jeter said about Cotham. “He was moving it around. He was throwing his two-seam fastball, good breaking ball, change-up. He was in control pretty much the whole night. He threw the ball extremely well.”


The RailRiders tacked on single runs in the sixth and seventh when Corey Patterson singled in a run in the sixth and rehabbing Jeter scored on a wild pitch in the seventh for a 4-0 lead.


Mustelier, who has been on fire lately hitting .608 (14 for 23) over his last six games – which are all multi-hit efforts – extended his hitting streak to 11 straight games going 2 for 4.


Pawtucket finally scored in the ninth, getting a run off Betances, who struck out six in his outing. Jim Miller inherited two runners and allowed one to score before nailing down the save.


RailRiders 4, Red Sox 1


Pawtucket““`RailRiders


`ab`r`h`bi“ab`r`h`bi


Diaz 3b`5`0`1`0`Lillibridge 3b`3`0`2`0


Holt 2b`4`0`1`0`Jeter ss`3`1`0`0


Lavarnway c`4`0`0`0`Maruszak 2b`0`0`0`0


Hamilton dh`3`0`1`0`Johnson 1b`3`0`0`0


Thomas lf`4`0`1`0`Ruiz dh`4`1`2`0


Sutton 1b`4`0`0`0`Mustelier rf`4`1`2`0


Hazelbaker rf`4`1`2`0`Garcia cf`4`1`1`0


Meneses ss`3`0`1`0`Murphy c`4`0`1`2


Henry cf`3`0`2`1`Patterson lf`4`0`1`1


““Gonzalez 2b/ss`3`0`0`0


Totals`34`1`9`1`Totals`32`4`9`3


Pawtucket`000`000`001`—`1


RailRiders`020`001`10x`-`4


E – Sutton (5). LOB —PAW 9, SWB 7. TEAM RISP – PAW 1-for-8, SWB 2-for-8. 2B – Mustelier (18), Garcia (8), Hamilton (19), Hazelbaker (13). SB – Lillibridge (10). PB – Lavarnway. GIDP – PAW 1 , SWB 1.


<


`IP`H`R`ER`BB`SO


Pawtucket


Haeger (L,4-4) `6`7`3`3`3`5


Huntzinger `2`2`1`0`0`0


RailRiders


Cotham (W, 6-5)`6.1`7`0`0`1`4


Betances (H,4)`2.1`1`1`1`2`6


Miller (S,6)`.1`1`0`0`0`0


WP – Haeger, Huntzinger


Umpires— Home, Andy Dudones; First, Sean Barber; Third, Toby Basner


T— 2:31; A— 10,000 (10,000)


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