Rochester, NY - The old saying goes, "It's not how you start, but how you finish." The statement rang true as the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees (46-37) overcame an early 2-0 deficit to beat the Rochester Red Wings (37-45) 6-4 on Saturday night at Frontier Field in Rochester, New York. Russell Branyan's 10th home run in the month of June gave the Yankees some breathing room and in the process tied him with a pair of former SWB Red Barons Gary Alexander (August 1991) and Wendell McGee Jr. (July 1998) as the only three players in franchise history to hit 10 home runs in a month.
The Red Wings jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the bottom half of the second inning a laser line drive home run into the left field bullpen off the bat of Danny Valencia. Just two innings later, Valencia crushed another home run to left field off of Scranton/Wilkes-Barre starter Mike O'Connor, giving the Red Wings a 2-0 advantage after four innings of play.
The Yankee offense awoke in the top half of the fifth, scoring three runs to take a 3-2 lead. All three of the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre came with two outs in the inning. Kruml started the rally with an RBI single to right field, plating Brandon Laird. Chris Dickerson then roped a two-RBI single to left, bringing home Colin Curtis and Kruml and capping the Yankee rally.
Russell Branyan ended the month of June with a bang as the Yankee first basemen crushed his 10th home run in the month of June (10th overall) way over the left-centerfield wall. Branyan's three-run homer gave Scranton/Wilkes-Barre a 6-2 lead in the ball game. Rochester got one back in the home half of the sixth on a Valencia RBI single. It was his third RBI of the game and brought the Red Wings to within 6-3 heading into the seventh inning.
Matt Carson crushed a solo home run way over the left-centerfield fence in the bottom half of the ninth off of Scranton/Wilkes-Barre reliever Jason Bulger, bringing the Red Wings to within 6-4. However, Carson's homer was too little too late for Rochester as the Yankees hung on for the 6-4 victory.
Preston Claiborne earned his first Triple-A win for Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. The right-hander tossed two innings allowing just one run on two hits in just his second appearance for the Yankees. Bulger earned his first save of the season for Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, tossing a scoreless ninth inning. Saturday nights save marked the first save for Bulger since May 17, 2011. Rochester reliever Brendan Wise suffered the loss for the Red Wings. He allowed all six Scranton/Wilkes-Barre runs on nine hits in just 1.1 innings on the mound in relief of Rochester starter, Jeff Manship.
Scranton/Wilkes-Barre and Rochester continue their short two-game, two-day weekend series Sunday evening at 6:05. Christ Schwinden takes the ball for his first start in the Yankee organization, while P.J. Walters (3-1, 2.70) gets the nod for the Red Wings.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.