Toledo, Ohio - An overnight bus ride had the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders (Triple-A/New York Yankees) arrive in Toledo at nearly 6 a.m. With that in mind, the team's sluggish opening in last night's series opener with the Mud Hens (Detroit Tigers) is more than understandable. The Mud Hens (12-28) scored two runs on bases loaded walks and thundered a pair of homers as the IL's worst squad routed the RailRiders, 10-2. The RailRiders (20-17) have lost three in a row and four of six.
The good news - Joba Chamberlain's first rehab outing went well. He started and needed just a dozen pitches, nine strikes, to get through a scoreless first inning. But scheduled starter Caleb Cotham (0-1) struggled, allowing six runs over four innings for his first loss in just his second Triple-A start.
Cotham was greeted in the second by a Ben Guez double. After former SWB infielder Kevin Russo's groundout advanced Guez, Quintin Berry delivered a sacrifice fly that plated Guez for a 1-0 margin. Home runs by Guez and Brandon Douglas combined to make it 4-0 in the fourth while Danny Dorn's two-run double in the fifth rounded out the scoring against Cotham.
The RailRiders' lone run-scoring inning was the sixth. Three straight two-out hits by Melky Mesa, Zoilo Almonte and Luke Murton resulted in the two tallies.
Dorn tripled in a run thanks in part to a poor read by Mesa in the seventh. Clay Rapada had command issues in a three-run eighth, walking in a pair of scores before Dorn picked up his fourth RBI of the night with a sacrifice fly.
Toledo's southpaw starter Jose Alvarez (3-2) sported great off-speed stuff in keeping the RailRiders off balance. He allowed just two runs over his six innings of work with seven strikeouts against no walks.
Right-hander Chris Bootcheck (4-0, 1.25) gets the nod for the RailRiders in Wednesday's morning affair against his former club. Toledo turns to another righty in Shawn Hill (0-4, 3.98). First pitch is scheduled for 10:30 a.m. with pregame coverage starting at 10 a.m. on NEPA Sports Radio - The GAME, Northeast PA's largest sports radio network: 100.7 FM, 1340 WYCK-AM, 1400 WICK-AM, 1440 WCDL-AM and 106.7 FM. The Voice of the RailRiders, John Sadak, will be on the call.
OFF THE RAILS:
Zoilo Almonte batted somewhere other than third in the order for the first time all season. He finished the night with three hits, a run-scoring double and two stolen bases in the sixth position.
In his place, Thomas Neal batted third. He went 0-for-4 with three strikeouts.
Luke Murton singled in each of his first three at-bats and drove in a run. It marks his first three-hit performance since Aug. 24, 2012 while with Double-A Trenton.
Toledo entered the day at a league-worst 11-28 (.282) overall, while the RailRiders boasted the best road record in minor league baseball at 12-2 (.857).
The RailRiders suffered their largest margin of defeat this season. The last time SWB lost by eight or more runs was Aug. 2, 2012 in a 13-1 blowout against Indianapolis.
Dellin Betances' second relief outing went well. He allowed one run on two hits over two innings. He posted no walks and one strikeout. The run came on Dorn's seventh-inning triple, which looked playable for Melky Mesa. Betances also took a comebacker off his backside on a Ben Guez 1-6-3 groundout, but stayed in the game and retired Kevin Russo to conclude the inning.
The New York Yankees announced a flurry of roster moves before the game. Nik Turley was sent back to Double-A Trenton. Curtis Granderson's rehab officially concluded. Vidal Nuno was optioned back to SWB and Corban Joseph rejoined the team after his one-day duties as the Yankees' "26th man" in Monday's doubleheader. Since Nuno and outfielder Brennan Boesch have yet to physically join the team, the RailRiders remained at 24 active players. Boesch, a former Tiger/Mud Hen, is expected to be with the club on Wednesday.
- SWB RailRiders - All Aboard! -