Moosic, Pa. - The Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders (Triple-A/New York Yankees) received a temporary boost to their lineup and a walk-off win on the same day. Before Friday night's contest, the Yankees announced Derek Jeter would begin a rehab assignment with the RailRiders on Saturday, and SWB walked off on J.R. Murphy's sacrifice fly in the ninth that clinched a 3-2 win on Friday over the Buffalo Bisons (Toronto Blue Jays).
Jeter is expected to start at shortstop, and play at least five innings. He is a career .313 hitter in the big leagues with 3,304 hits. The 13-time All-Star and five-time Gold Glove winner has never played for SWB. The lone rehab stints for the sure-fire Hall of Famer over the last decade both came with Double-A Trenton in 2003 and 2011. The American League's Rookie of the Year in 1996 is coming off of an outstanding 2012 in which he hit .316 and led the bigs with 216 hits, one of his eight career campaigns with over 200 knocks.
Friday night's game got off to a rough start for the RailRiders, as Buffalo plated two runs in the first. With one out, starter Jose Ramirez hit Ryan Goins and Kevin Pillar back-to-back to put runners at first and second. One out later, Jim Negrych doubled to right field to give the Bisons an early 2-0 lead.
Ramirez would settle into a grove after that, and struck out six batters over his final four innings. His counterpart, Justin Germano, was nearly untouchable early. He carried a perfect game into the fifth, but Dan Johnson doubled with one out to end his bid for perfection.
SWB leveled the score in the seventh. With one out Randy Ruiz doubled down the right-field line. One out later, Murphy singled to left field to drive home Ruiz. The throw went to home and was late, which allowed Murphy to move up to second base. Brent Lillibridge followed with a bloop single to right field to score Murphy and tie the game.
The RailRiders scored one in the ninth without the benefit of a hit. The inning began when Fernando Martinez was hit by a pitch. Ruiz then appeared to fly-out to center, but a balk was called on Joel Carreno. It moved Martinez to second, and forced the Bisons to intentionally walk Ruiz. A passed ball allowed Martinez and Ruiz move up to third and second respectively, and Murphy followed with a sacrifice fly to right field to plate Martinez for the walk-off win.
Mike Zagurski (4-1) pitched the ninth for SWB to earn the win. Chase Whitley tossed three scoreless innings in relief of Ramirez, who finished the ballgame with just two earned runs allowed on a pair of hits.
Carreno (2-2) was handed the loss for Buffalo.
Jeter will be in the lineup on Saturday night, and PNC Field is sold-out. The game will be broadcast live locally on My Network TV with the Voice of the RailRiders John Sadak and Bob Ide of FOX56 on the call. Andrew Kappes will have the radio call on NEPA Sports Radio - The GAME, NEPA's largest sports radio network: 100.7 FM, 1340 WYCK-AM, 1400 WICK-AM, 1440 WCDL-AM and 106.7 FM.
Michael Pineda will make his first rehab start with SWB on Saturday, and first pitch is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. Tickets are still available for Sunday, and the RailRiders are home through Friday, July 12. Fans can purchase tickets by calling 570-969-BALL (2255) logging on to swbrailriders.com, or by visiting the PNC Field box office.
- SWB RailRiders - All Aboard! -