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May 23, 2019 - International League (IL) - Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders News Release


RHP Josh Smith (1-1, 3.78) vs. RHP Brody Koerner (0-0, 5.14)

| Game No. 42 | PNC Field | Moosic, PA | May 23, 2019 | First Pitch 10:35 a.m. |

MOOSIC, PA - The Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders beat the Pawtucket Red Sox 8-6 Wednesday night at PNC Field. Kyle Higashioka homered and drove in four and Trey Amburgey went 4-for-5 with a three-run homer to pace the offense.

The PawSox started the game off with back-to-back singles against Raynel Espinal, including one by Major League rehabber Brock Holt. Dustin Pedroia, also with Pawtucket on a rehab assignment, grounded into a fielder's choice. As Tyler Wade threw home to cut down the lead runner at the plate. With the bases loaded and one out, Rusney Castillo hit a pop up to Gosuke Katoh in shallow right. As an infield fly was called, Holt attempted to tag and score, but Katoh threw him out at the plate to keep the game scoreless.

Scranton/Wilkes-Barre took the lead in the bottom of the second inning when Ryan McBroom scored on a sac fly from Billy Burns for a 1-0 advantage. The RailRiders doubled their lead in the third as Higashioka reached on an infield single that allowed Amburgey to score Higashioka launched a three-run homer to center in the fifth off PawSox starting pitcher Matthew Kent, increasing the RailRiders lead to 5-0.

Pawtucket broke up the shutout bid in the top of the sixth inning. Pinch hitter Bryce Brentz doubled in Sam Travis to cut the deficit to four. Scranton/Wilkes-Barre answered with a home run knocked out of the park by Amburgey to close out the inning 8-1. It was Amburgey's fourth home run of the season; three of which have come at PNC Field.

Brentz hit a grand slam for Pawtucket in the top of the eighth inning to make it an 8-5 deficit for Pawtucket.

Sam Travis grounded into a force out in the top of the ninth, plating an additional tally on the board for the PawSox to cap the scoring.

Espinal worked four shutout innings in his fifth start of the season, allowing four hits while striking out five and walking three in a no-decision. Steven Tarpley picked up the win and improves to 3-0 on the season and Joe Harvey pitched the final inning and two-thirds for his second save. Kent (0-2) took the loss for Pawtucket.

ON-BASE STREAKS, BENCHED: On Wednesday, the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders had three players entering play with on-base streaks of 10-or-more games, and all three got the night off. INF Brad Miller (15G streak), INF Mike Ford (12G streak), and C Ryan Lavarnway (11G streak) all found themselves out of the lineup, but the RailRiders were still able to prevail 8-6 over Pawtucket. Miller's 15-game on-base streak is the longest by an SWB player and the third-longest by a Yankees minor leaguer in 2019 (Diego Castillo, TAM -- 20G). It is currently the sixth-longest active streak in the International League (Travis Demeritte, GWI -- 26G).

WHAT A STRETCH: Early in the season, the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders had their schedule broken up by a handful of postponements and suspensions due to weather -- seven over the first five weeks of the season. Though many of the games were made up the following day, its getting time to pay the piper over the next few weeks. Following Monday's day-off, the RailRiders began a stretch Tuesday night against the Pawtucket Red Sox that features 23 games over 20 days before their next scheduled off day. All 23 games come against each of their five IL North Division rivals.

HOLD YOUR HORSES: The RailRiders got out of the gate by stealing 21 bases in the month of April (22G) and was caught only three times (87.5%). It was the best efficiency rate in the league in the month, and they were tied for the fourth-most steals. May has been a different story with the team stealing only 13 bases (T-7th, IL) and caught six times (68.4%).

MAY-BE THEY'RE CATCHING ON: In the month of May, the RailRiders have received outstanding offensive contributions from their catchers. Both Kyle Higashioka (10G from 5/1-5/20) and Ryan Lavarnway (11G dating to 4/25) entered Tuesday's game against the PawSox with significant on-base streaks. In the month of May, the two catchers had combined to reach safely in the first 17G of the month before Tuesday: 20-for-55 (.364 AVG), 3 2B, 4 HR, 16 RBI, 14 BB, 2 HBP (.507 OBP)

TRUCKING AT THE TOP: INF Mike Ford had never batted leadoff in his career, but has now done so eight times in the last dozen games for the RailRiders. In the first eight games he has reached base safely to begin the game six-of-eight times with two singles, a double, a homer and two walks. In 21G this season, Ford has an OBP of .444 which is tops on the team among players who have played +5G (Kyle Higashioka, .392 OBP in 18G).

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