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Catcher Ryan Baker Make Triple-A Debut as a Pitcher and Gets Win06/04/2012 10:41 PM ET
By Mike Vander Woude
Norfolk, VA - The Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees (31-27) and Norfolk Tides (26-33) played back to back double headers on Saturday night and Sunday afternoon, essentially amounting to four games in a 24 hour span. The last thing the two teams wanted or needed was extra innings in the series finale on Monday afternoon. The Yankees and Tides battled for four hours and 29 minutes over 13 innings with each team needing position players to pitch before Scranton/Wilkes-Barre came away with a 5-4 win.
Jack Cust had his third two homer game with both solo shots giving the Yankees a one run lead in extra innings. His first homer of the night and 11th of the season, came with two out in the 10th inning and put SWB up by a 4-3 score. Norfolk came back in the bottom of the 10th inning to tie the game at 4-4 loading the bases with none out off Nelson Figueroa, a pitcher normally in the Yankees starting rotation. Due to the over load of innings between Saturday and Sunday, the Yankees ran Figueroa to the mound on what was normally his day to throw in the bullpen. The Tides loaded the bases on back to back singles by Jamie Hoffman Chris Robinson and a walk to Brandon Waring. Blake Davis tied the game at four with a base hit to right field scoring Hoffman. The play of the game for the Yankees came in the form of a 1-2-3 double play that helped Figueroa escape the 10th inning with the score still tied.
After the Yankees pitching staff was depleted of available arms, manager Dave Miley turned to Ryan Baker (WP, 1-0). The catcher began the season on the Yankees disabled list and was activated on May 21st but had yet to see any game action. The right hander made his Triple-A debut on the mound to start the bottom of the 12th inning. Baker allowed a two out single to second baseman and eventual losing pitcher Carlos Rojas (LP, 0-1). After the Rojas single Baker got a fly out from Xavier Avery to end the inning.
Tides manager Ron Johnson ended up using a position player on the mound as well as Rojas moved from second base to the mound to become the sixth Norfolk pitcher on the afternoon. The first batter that Rojas faced in the top of 13th was Cust, who tagged the first pitch that he saw over the left center field fence and into the Yankees bullpen for a 5-4 lead.
The bottom of the 13th inning had Baker facing the second, third and fourth hitters for the Tides in his second inning of work. L.J. Hoes lined out to center for the first out of the inning. Lew Ford, who received two votes for the 2004 AL MVP struck out looking on a full count change up by Baker. With two out, the Yankees right hander popped up Joe Mahoney to third base for the final out of the inning and the win.
Yankees starter Dellin Betances threw a season high 112 pitches and earned no decision on the day allowing three earned runs over 5.1 innings allowing three hits with six walks and six strikeouts. Corban Joseph got Scranton/Wilkes-Barre on the scoreboard with his third homer in six games since his promotion from Double-A Trenton. His solo homer off Tides starter Brad Bergesen gave the Yankees a 1-0 lead. Joseph has hit safely in all six games he has played in with SWB.
Brandon Laird picked up a two out single to left field off Bergesen in the top of the sixth inning that tied the game at 2-2. After the Tides took the lead off Betances with a pair of runs on RBI hits from Waring and Davis in the home half of the sixth inning to grab 3-2 lead, Kevin Russo's run scoring single in the seventh tied the game at 3-3 to set the stage for extra innings. The Yankees head to Durham to open up a four game series beginning on Tuesday night with a 7:05 PM first pitch. D.J. Mitchell (4-2, 4.42) will get the start for the Yankees in the opening game of the series. The Bulls will start lefthander Matt Torra (4-6, 5.02)