Pawtucket, RI - Melky Mesa's two run, two out homer in the bottom of the ninth inning gave Scranton/Wilkes-Barre a dramatic 4-3 come from behind win over the Pawtucket Red Sox and kept the Yankees season alive forcing a game four in the best of five opening round playoff series against the Red Sox.
The Paw Sox picked up their two runs early on off SWB starter Mike O'Connor on back-to-back homers in the top of the second inning. Bryce Brentz and Mike Rivera hit consecutive pitches by the left hander over the wall in left field giving Pawtucket a 1-0, then a 2-0 lead. O'Connor kept the Yankees in the game until his departure after the sixth inning allowing the two runs on three hits with one walk and five strikeouts.
Red Sox starter Billy Buckner dominated the Yankees bats keeping them virtually silent heading into the top of the eighth inning as allowing just two base runners in his 6.1 innings of work. Luke Murton led off the second inning with a walk and moved up to second on Mesa's single for the first SWB hit of the night. Mesa would be the last Yankee to reach base against Buckner who struck out seven in addition to allowing the pair of Yankees to reach in the second.
Brock Huntzinger came into the game with one out in the seventh inning and got the last two outs in the seventh, running the string of consecutive batters retired to 18.
Pawtucket picked up what looked to be the back breaker for the Yankees season with a single run in the top of the eighth inning off Yankees reliever Manny Delcarmen to run the score to 3-0. Jason Repko singled to lead off the inning and went to second base when Cole Garner overran the ball in right field. A wild pitch by Delcarmen advanced Repko to third with none out, before Delcarmen struck out Tony Thomas for the first out of the inning. Ryota Igarashi (WP, 1-0) came in out of the bullpen and gave up a gap triple to right center field to J.C. Linares scoring Repko for a 3-0 lead.
Huntzinger got the first out of the Yankees eighth to extend the string to 19 straight retired on Garner's ground out to shortstop. Gustavo Molina broke the string of 19 consecutive hitters retired by Paw Sox pitching with a one out homer in the bottom of the eighth for the Yankees first hit of the night since Mesa's single in the second to get the Yankees on the board at 3-1.
After Igarashi set down Pawtucket 1-2-3 in the top of the inning, the Yankees went to work in the bottom half of the ninth. Tony Pena Jr. replaced Huntzinger to open the inning and gave up a leadoff double to Kevin Russo. Russo advanced to third on Corban Joseph's ground out to short and scored Ronnier Mustelier's RBI single to center to cut the lead to 3-2. The Red Sox went to the bullpen again bringing in Pedro Beato (LP, 0-1), who got Murton to foul out to first baseman Andy LaRoche for the second out of the inning. Mesa hit a 2-0 Beato pitch to left just out of the reach of Repko and into the Yankees bullpen for the game winning hit.
The Yankees and Red Sox will play game four in the best of five series with Scranton/Wilkes-Barre facing another elimination game on Saturday night with a 7:05 pm first pitch from Frontier Field. SWB will send left hander Vidal Nuno to the hill in his Triple-A and SWB Yankees debut while the Paw Sox will go with veteran right hander and former Yankee and Red Baron Nelson Figueroa (12-5, 3.89 ERA)
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.