Moosic, PA – The Syracuse Mets won the first game and lost the second in a Thursday night doubleheader at the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders, giving the RailRiders a two games to one lead so far in the six-game series. This week marks the final series of the season between the International
Moosic, PA – The Syracuse Mets won the first game and lost the second in a Thursday night doubleheader at the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders, giving the RailRiders a two games to one lead so far in the six-game series. This week marks the final series of the season between the International League East division foes. So far this season, the RailRiders have won 13 out of the 21 total games.
Game one of the doubleheader would go the Mets way, although it got off to an inauspicious start. In a scoreless game in the bottom of the third, Oswald Peraza smacked a line-drive home run that sailed over the wall in left-center field to power the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre (66-59) to an early 1-0 lead. Almost immediately after his home run, the 22-year-old from Venezuela was lifted from the game, with the news soon breaking that he has been called up to the Major Leagues by the New York Yankees for the first time. Peraza was in the midst of a terrific campaign for Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, smacking 35 extra-base hits (17 doubles, 18 home runs) in 99 games in Triple-A.
From there, Syracuse (53-73) got to work. First, the Mets tied the game with a lone run in the top of the fourth. Dominic Smith was on base with two outs when Daniel Palka strode to the plate. Palka promptly lined a sharp drive to the centerfield warning track. Estevan Florial got crossed up while trying to catch the sharply hit drive, allowing the ball to sail over his glove for a double that plated Smith and tie the game, 1-1.
In the fifth, the Mets took the lead with another lone run. Gosuke Katoh singled starting the inning and moved up to second on a one-out single from Travis Jankowski. Jake Mangum then lined out, leaving Syracuse in danger of leaving two runners on base. It wouldn’t happen as the next batter, Smith, grounded a single into left field that scored Katoh and gave the Mets a 2-1 lead that they would never relinquish.
Syracuse was still seeking security with its late lead, and the Mets got it with a pair of runs in the top of the sixth. A Palka walk and a Nick Plummer double put runners on second and third with one out. Katoh then strode to the plate and singled into left field, scoring Palka easily for a 3-1 edge. Plummer tried to make it a two-run single as he rounded third and raced home, but an excellent throw from the left fielder Matt Pita cut Plummer down at the plate. The fun wouldn’t end there, however. The next batter, Michael Pérez, singled home another run when he laced a drive into right field. Katoh scored on the play, giving Syracuse a 4-1 lead.
That would be all the run support the pitching staff for the Mets would need, as three pitchers held a talented RailRiders lineup in check all game long. Harol González got the party started, allowing just one run in four and one-third innings of work on three hits with four strikeouts. Sam Clay tossed the next one and two-thirds innings in scoreless fashion with three strikeouts, followed by a clean seventh from Bryce Montes de Oca that earned Syracuse a 4-1 win in game one of the doubleheader. It was the eighth save of the season for Montes de Oca in ten tries at the Triple-A level.
Game two would become a pitcher’s duel as each team would only score once in the first seven innings of the game. Syracuse got its run in the top of the third when Travis Jankowski doubled leading off the inning and later came in to score when Dominic Smith singled him home for a 1-0 Mets advantage. Smith knocked in runs in both halves of the doubleheader.
Scranton/Wilkes-Barre tied the game up right away in the bottom of the third when their leadoff batter, Chad Bell, hit a solo home run down the right-field line, knotting the game, 1-1.
After that, the second half of the doubleheader would be defined by excellent pitching on both sides of the ledger. It would remain a 1-1 game into extra innings as each team held one another in check. Chi Chi Gonzalez, Jose Mujica, and Zach Greene combined to work the first seven innings for the RailRiders, allowing seven hits in the process with three walks and six strikeouts. Just two pitchers, Jordan Yamamoto and Nate Fisher, were needed for the Mets as they allowed just the one run in the game’s first seven innings. Yamamoto allowed one run in four innings of work on three hits plus three strikeouts, then ceding the scene to Nate Fisher. The left-hander was once again brilliant out of the bullpen, tossing three scoreless innings on just one hit with no walks and two strikeouts.
The game entered extra innings knotted up at one, and predictably, things got interesting in the eighth. First, Syracuse scored a run and took a 2-1 lead when Khalil Lee laced a two-out, two-strike double down the right-field line that plated Smith.
Then, in the bottom of the eighth, Scranton/Wilkes-Barre squeezed across a run of their own to tie the game. With runners on first and third with one out, the Mets elected to play the infield back, which allowed Ronald Guzman’s groundball to second base to plate the tying run and eventually send a 2-2 game into the ninth inning.
It remained 2-2 all the way until the bottom of the tenth inning, when the RailRiders finally sent the home crowd home happy. With Phillip Evans starting on second base as the free runner in extras with nobody out, Blake Perkins sacrificed him over to third with a bunt. Ryan LaMarre then came to the plate and played hero, lofting a fly ball deep enough into center field to score Evans on a sacrifice fly that ended the game with the RailRiders as 3-2 walk-off winners.
Syracuse is on the road for its penultimate road series of the season, taking on the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders in a six-game series through Sunday. The fourth game of the series is scheduled for a 6:35 p.m. first pitch on Friday. Right-hander José Butto is slated to start the game for the Mets.