Moosic, Pa. - Minor league baseball games mean more than just baseball. Between-inning antics, promotions, and giveaways - you got it. On Thursday night, they added rollercoaster rides to the fray. The Norfolk Tides (Baltimore Orioles) leapt out to an early 8-0 lead with all the scores coming against highly-regard starter Shane Greene. But the resolute Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders (Triple-A/New York Yankees) responded, battling back from the monumental deficit to take a 9-8 lead. But A four-run ninth by the Tides proved too much to overcome in disappointing 13-9 loss Thursday night at PNC Field.
The Tides' offense roared early, plating eight runs against RaiRiders (29-30) in the first two frames. Behind 8-0, crooked numbers in the third, fourth and fifth helped fuel an epic comeback. Zoilo Almonte put the RailRiders on the board with a three-run home run and two more RailRider runs crossed in the fourth on RBI base knocks by Corban Joseph and Jose Pirela.
Almonte continued the surge with a leadoff single and scored an RBI base hit from Zelous Wheeler. Russ Canzler blasted a double to plate a run before Antoan Richardson's two-run single pushed the rising RailRiders over the mountaintop, 9-8. Had the RailRiders won, it would have tied for the largest comeback win in franchise history with the 2000 Red Barons' effort against the Buffalo Bisons (Toronto Blue Jays) on Aug. 23 of that year.
On Thursday, the RailRiders brush with history came to a screeching halt, as the red-hot Tides' offense plated five-run in the ninth against RailRiders' pitching to deny SWB the win and claim the season series. Reliever Pat Venditte (1-1) wore the loss while Heath Bell (2-0) twirled two scoreless frames in the win for the Tides.
The RailRiders look avoid the sweep in the four-game series with Norfolk on Friday, June 6 at 7:05 p.m. SWB sends righty Bruce Billings (3-1, 5.02) to the hill while the Tides will counter with right-hander Mike Wright (1-3, 5.61) John Sadak and Aaron Berlin will have the call on radio with the pregame beginning at 6:35 p.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. For season ticket information, single-game tickets or to book a ballpark group outing, call (570) 969-BALL (2255) or visit swbrailriders.com.
OFF THE RAILS:
Russ Canzler made his professional pitching debut, spinning 0.2 innings to conclude the ninth. The pitching performance marked the first for NEPA's own in 1,067 games between the Major League and minor league ranks.
Norfolk tallied five more runs in the first frame of Thursday night's affair. In the first three games of the four-game run the Tides have sent 22 men to the plate, tallying 10 runs. For the series the Tides have scored 34 runs and collected 56 hits.
Jose Pirela collected three more base hits and an RBI Thursday night. The RailRiders usual second basemen is 53-for-138 since April 28. The .384 average during that time span is tops in the International League leading Norfolk's Brett Wallace (3rd) by .28 points.
Russ Canzler extended a season's-best hitting streak to 10 games with a double in fifth. During the 10-game run Canzler is 16-for-40 with six extra-base hits and eight RBI.
- SWB RailRiders - All Aboard! -