Jun. 4—MOOSIC — The offense worked a major league rehabber for 40 pitches in the first inning.
The pitching allowed one ball out of the infield after the fourth inning, and just two runners past second all game.
Pretty simple formula that the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders followed to a
Trey Amburgey ripped a double off Philadelphia Phillies southpaw Matt Moore that got the RailRiders on the board four batters into the game, the bullpen allowed one IronPig to reach base over the final five innings and Scranton/Wilkes-Barre coasted to a 5-1 win Thursday at PNC Field.
RailRiders (18-7) hitters had Moore, who has been on the injured list since May 22 with back spasms, locked in their sights from the first pitch. He kept missing off the plate inside against righties, then anything over the dish was either hit hard or fouled off.
“It was just kind of stay on his heater,” Amburgey said. “You know he’s going to try and cut stuff, work his changeup. So, just kind of stay on the heater.”
Hoy Park led off with an infield single and Chris Gittens lined a one-out base hit to center to put runners on the corners for Amburgey. He got one of those fastballs and scorched it to left field to score Park for a 1-0 lead and extend his season-long hitting streak to 10 games.
“He tried to come in to me, I turned around on the heater,” said Amburgey, who missed time with a groin injury but is batting .417 with a 1.406 OPS. “So it was just get the heater, zone him up a little bit, and get after it. We did a good job with that.”
With two outs, Moore walked Zack Zehner and Andrew Velazquez, with Velazquez’s pass forcing in a run to make it 2-0. Only 22 of his 40 pitches in the inning were strikes.
He started the second inning, but left with two on and two out after Gittens smoked a double to left. He threw 59 pitches, 32 for strikes, walked three and struck out two.
Moore was one of three MLB rehabbers in Lehigh Valley’s starting lineup. Designated hitter Scott Kingery went 0 for 4 with three strikeouts and center fielder Adam Haseley was had an infield single and a walk in four trips to the plate. Haseley’s single came on a popup that dropped in thanks to some miscommunication on the RailRiders’ part, though he also rounded first base too far on the play, allowing Velazquez to pick up the ball and fire to Mike Ford at first, who applied a quick tag.
The RailRiders tacked on three runs sin the sixth, making Lehigh Valley (14-13) pay for pitching around some of their best hitters.
Righty reliever Julian Garcia picked up the first two outs, but then Park beat out his second infield single of the night, this time a dribbler in the grass toward third. A wild pitch moved him up to second, so Lehigh Valley elected to walk the lefty swinging Ford in favor of Gittens, who had already reached base three times.
A second wild pitch moved Park and Ford up, then Gittens worked a walk to load the bases for Amburgey as the IronPigs went back to the bullpen for lefty Damon Jones. Jones quickly added the third wild pitch of the inning that made it 3-1 and left a base open for Amburgey, who Lehigh Valley then elected to intentionally walk. Socrates Brito’s liner to left-center scored two for a 5-1 lead.
“That was a huge hit for Brito, which he’s done numerous times for us, been in key situations and come up with big hits with runners in scoring position,” RailRiders manager Doug Davis said. “Yeah, it was definitely important because again, it felt like we were ahead by more than what we were. It was a close game all the way through five innings. They were, certainly with the guys that they have in that lineup, they were a couple swings away from taking a lead.”
RailRiders starter Brian Keller allowed one run in four innings, but also walked four. Once the bullpen came into play, Lehigh Valley’s bats went silent.
Kyle Barraclough struck out five and walked one in 2.2 innings. Braden Bristo whiffed three of the four batters he faced and Luis Garcia breezed through a perfect ninth. No Lehigh Valley batter mustered a ball to an outfielder after Darick’s Hall’s RBI double off Keller with two outs in the fourth inning.
“Made my job easier. I didn’t have to move much,” said Amburgey, who had one chance in right field all night. “That’s good, though. Honestly, stating the obvious, a lot of these guys have good big league time. So they know what they’re doing.”
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