By: Mike Rose
The home run has long been a staple of the New York Yankees organization and it trickled down to their AAA affiliate Friday night. The Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders used five solo home runs to power past the Rochester Red Wings 6-5. The loss snapped Rochester's three-game winning streak to open the series.
It was a back-and-forth affair that began with Rochester striking first. Nomar Mazara, who was in the lineup for the first time this series, took Will Warren deep for his fifth home run of the season to give Rochester an early 1-0 advantage.
"Yea about time," Mazara said in regard to his home run. "I've been hitting the ball 107 (mph) and not even getting to the warning track. So yea, that feels good. When you're hitting it 107, 108 and they don't go out there is nothing you can do. You just have to keep having good at-bats and trust the process and good things will happen."
In the third, Scranton/Wilkes-Barre came back to knot it up on a sac fly from Oswald Peraza. However, in the bottom half, they gifted the lead right back. Aided by a pair of errors Rochester responded with three runs including an RBI groundout from Matt Adams and an RBI double from Mazara.
The high-scoring start continued into the fourth when Carlos Narvaez left the yard off Jose Ureña to make it a 4-2 game.
In the sixth, it was once again the long ball leading the RailRiders attack. Peraza and Elijah Dunham went back-to-back off Ureña to even the game back up at four and end the Red Wings starter's evening.
The home runs kept coming for Scranton/Wilkes-Barre when Jamie Westbrook went deep for the fourth solo shot of the day in the seventh to make it 5-4. Rochester's offense responded once again with an RBI double from Jake Alu to retie the game headed to the eighth.
In the eighth Joe La Sorsa came on for the Red Wings and immediately worked his way into trouble. Dunham led off with a single followed by a booming double off the wall from Andrés Chaparro. Manager Matthew LeCroy then made the decision to intentionally walk Carlos Narvaez and load the bases with no outs. That move got La Sorsa up to his three-batter minimum and ended his night without recording an out. He was pulled in favor of Gerson Moreno who entered having recorded 11 consecutive scoreless outings. Moreno worked his magic once again, escaping the inning without any damage and keeping it knotted up.
"I thought he (Moreno) did a really nice job and I hoped that momentum would get us going there," LeCroy said.
Unfortunately, it was not to be on this night. The Red Wings stranded a pair in scoring position in the bottom of the eighth only to see Michael Hermosillo hit home run number five on the night off Moreno in the ninth. That put the RailRiders ahead for good as DJ Snelten and Michael Feliz combined to record the final three outs in the ninth.
LeCroy said he knew Scranton/Wilkes-Barre lived by the long ball coming into the series.
"We knew if we could keep them in the ballpark we could win and we just didn't do that tonight. It was one of those nights where we didn't make good enough pitches at times and they made us pay. We gave up some two-strike homers and made some pitches in some really good counts for us but that is what they do. You can tell every guy that comes in there to hit is looking to hit the ball over the fence. We just gotta look to bounce back tomorrow" LeCroy said.
The Red Wings (31-34) will look to do just that as they face off with the RailRiders (30-36) once again. Joan Adon will square off with Tanner Tully as Rochester looks to clinch a series victory. First pitch is scheduled for 6:45 pm.