How do you beat the bunt? With an array of deep blasts. Lehigh Valley had plenty of success playing small ball, getting three bunt base hits and another single on a swinging bunt. Two of those bunt singles were well-placed by Cesar Hernandez, and he scored runs both times. The RailRiders found an answer by blasting five extra-base hits. Ronnier Mustelier doubled twice so did J.R. Murphy, and all four of those two-baggers helped the RailRiders score runs. Of course, the most impressive shot came off the bat of Murphy, who hammered a homer in the third inning. Murphy also got the last shot in, as he doubled and scored the winning run that lifted the RailRiders to a 5-4 victory in 12 innings.
RailRiders at the plate: The Red Robin discount for fans came quickly, as the RailRiders had a 10-hit night before the fifth inning was over. Ronnier Mustelier led the charge, ripping doubles during his first two at-bats to begin his three-hit night. J.R. Murphy blasted his fifth homer of the season, later added two doubles and scored four runs on the night. Adonis Garcia hit a pair of singles and drove in a run with each during his first two at-bats.
RailRiders on the mound: Caleb Cotham probably deserved a better fate than a no-decision after allowing just one earned run, but the two others he gave up were his own undoing. Cotham’s two wild pickoff throws, both with Cesar Hernandez on first base, put the IronPigs in position to score unearned runs in the first and fifth innings. David Herndon allowed the tying run in the seventh inning after the RailRiders had taken a 4-3 lead. Yoshinori Tateyama worked three near-perfect innings, allowing just one baserunner among the 10 batters he faced. Matt Daley pitched perfect innings in the 11th and 12th.
Today’s Game: The RailRiders finish their home schedule for the season with a 7:05 p.m. game against Lehigh Valley at PNC Field.
Today’s Probables: Lehigh Valley righthander Tyler Cloyd (5-9, 4.89 ERA) squares off with RailRiders righty Chase Whitley (3-2, 3.36 ERA).
On Deck: The RailRiders return the favor and head to Lehigh Valley’s Coca-Cola Park for a two-game set Friday and Saturday.
Today at PNC Field: It’ll be Fan Appreciation night at PNC Field, as the RailRiders thank some of their faithful who helped push the season attendance figure over 400,000 with various gifts. It’s also one final “Thirsty Thursday” of the season where fans can grab a small soda or beer for a buck.
On the Radio: All games can be heard on WYCK 1340-AM, 1400-AM and 100.7-FM.
HOW THEY SCORED
LEHIGH VALLEY FIRST: Cesar Hernandez beat out a bunt single to third base. He raced to third when Caleb Cotham’s pickoff throw went wide of first base. Freddy Galvis drove Hernandez home with a sacrifice fly to center field. LEHIGH VALLEY 1-0.
RAILRIDERS FIRST: J.R. Murphy reached on a fielder’s choice. He took third when Ronnier Mustelier doubled to left field. Adonis Garcia later bounced a two-out single behind the second base bag, bringing home Murphy. RAILRIDERS 1, LEHIGH VALLEY 1.
RAILRIDERS THIRD: Murphy led off with a long home run over the catwalk in left field. Mustelier followed by drilling his second double in as many at-bats. One out later, Adonis Garcia brought him home with a sharp single to center field. RAILRIDERS 3-1.
LEHIGH VALLEY FIFTH: Derrick Mitchell slammed a double to center field and Hernandez reached on his second bunt single down the third base line, moving Mitchell to third base. Galvis lifted his second sacrifice fly of the game, this time to left field, as Mitchell trotted home. That pesky Hernandez again drew an errant pickoff throw from Cotham and flew to third base again. Steve Susdorf scored Hernandez with a sacrifice fly to center field. LEHIGH VALLEY 3, RAILRIDERS 3.
RAILRIDERS FIFTH: Murphy laced a double down the left field line and moved to third base when Mustelier singled to right field. Murphy scored when Randy Ruiz grounded into a fielder’s choice. RAILRIDERS 4-3.
LEHIGH VALLEY SEVENTH: Galvis slammed a double, moved to third base on Susdorf’s swinging bunt single and scored when Tyler Henson smoked a single into left field. LEHIGH VALLEY 4, RAILRIDERS 4.
RAILRIDERS 12th: J.R. Murphy smoked a double into the left field corner. He moved to third base on a wild pitch and scored the winning run on a passed ball. RAILRIDERS 5-4.