RailRiders Split Doubleheader
MOOSIC — Add in the two rain delays, and it looked like the RailRiders were about to spoil a late rally and more than six and a half hours of work.
Syracuse center fielder Carlos Gómez just put the Mets ahead in the top of the 10th by punching an RBI single up the middle. The RailRiders’ best chance at knotting it up, it seemed, was erased when Syracuse first baseman David Thompson cut down free runner Matt Lipka at third base for the first out of the bottom of the inning.
Then, Cliff Pennington ran into one.
The RailRiders shortstop turned on a pitch from Syracuse reliever Tim Peterson and sent a two-run homer deep toward the RailHouse in right field to win the completion of Friday’s suspended game, 7-6, in 10 innings Saturday. The Mets took the second game of the doubleheader, 3-2, though the RailRiders flirted with another comeback in the final inning.
Brad Miller, who joined the Yankees on a minor league contract Monday, had four hits in the doubleheader, including two doubles, a triple and a mammoth 482-foot home run that tied the first game in the seventh inning.
“Fun game,” RailRiders manager Jay Bell said of the opener. “There were some things that we could have done better. We could’ve scored more runs, I felt like. But overall, the guys continued to play. They busted their rear ends.”
The start of Friday’s game was delayed two hours, then the teams played four outs before the umpires called for the tarp again. After an hour, and with the area around first base deemed too slick to play, the suspended it until Saturday with the Mets up, 1-0, on Danny Espinosa’s home run.
Miller tied the game Saturday in the bottom of the second by working a bases-loaded walk and the RailRiders answered Gómez’s two-run single in the third inning with a run in the bottom of the frame to make it 3-2.
Espinosa hurt the RailRiders again in the seventh, clubbing a two-run double for a three-run lead, but again, SWB answered.
With two outs, Matt Lipka poked an RBI single to left that brought Miller to the plate. While the wind was blowing out to right all day, this one didn’t need much help. Miller cranked a game-tying homer over the RailHouse in right that rattled some of the trees that line the concourse.
“Honestly, didn’t feel much, but felt good to kind of make an adjustment within the game and get on an inside fastball,” Miller said. “That was one of my best bolts. Felt really good.”
At 482 feet, he figured it’s among the best blasts in his carer.
“That was definitely probably the top right there,” the 29-year-old said. “That felt really pure. Got us some runs, got us back in it.”
Pennington’s home run walked off Game 1, and the RailRiders seemed to pick up where they left off for Game 2, with Trey Amburgey and Matt Lipka starting it with back-to-back base hits.
The RailRiders would even put the leadoff man on six of the seven innings, but struggled to move them up. Miller had a two-out RBI double in the fifth, then his two-out triple in the seventh set up the team’s second run.
“Obviously, I haven’t been here long, but I was looking forward to the doubleheader, honestly, just because I wanted to see how many at-bats I could get; kind of get in a rhythm,” Miller said. “Definitely got better. Made some positive strides in the box.”
He scored on Ryan McBroom’s infield single, but Syracuse reliever Tyler Bashlor struck out Gosuke Katoh to end the game.
“You go back and think about what could’ve been, what should’ve been, whatever — they did a good job,” Bell said. “They used a couple big double plays, got them out of jams. It’s not an easy game.”
Espinosa doubled off RailRiders starter Raynel Espinal in the first inning and scored on Adeiny Hechavarria’s groundout. Gregor Blanco delivered the big blow, pounding a two-run home run to the grass in right center for a 3-0 lead in the third.
Tim Tebow, the Heisman winner and former NFL star, went 0 for 5 with two strikeouts in the first game and did not play in the second.
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