Both the Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees and Double-A Trenton Thunder began their quests for Minor League championships on Wednesday night, but both sets of Baby Bombers find themselves in an 0-1 hole after their playoff openers.
SCRANTON: Starter John Maine was roughed up, allowing five runs on seven hits in just 4.2 innings, as the SWB Yankees fell to the Pawtucket Red Sox 7-4 in Rhode Island.
SWB actually held a 4-0 lead heading into the bottom of the third, thanks to a first-inning RBI double by Cole Garner and third inning homers by third baseman Kevin Russo (solo shot) and first baseman Luke Murton (two-run shot). However, the PawSox began chipping away in that frame, as left fielder J.C. Linares hit a two-run homer and first baseman Andy LaRoche added a solo shot to pull the home team within 4-3.
LaRoche then victimized Maine again in the fifth, smacking a two-run double to left that chased Maine and gave the PawSox a 5-4 lead they wouldn't relinquish. The long ball then later gave Pawtucket their final two runs, as right fielder Bryce Brentz smashed a two-run shot in the eighth off Kelvin Perez to close the scoring.
On the mound, Chase Whitley followed Maine and allowed two hits and a walk while striking out three in 2.1 strong innings, and Perez finished out by allowing those two runs and two hits in the eighth. Offensively, Scranton scratched out nine hits, with second baseman Corban Joseph going 2-for-4 with a walk and a run scored (on Murton's homer) and shortstop Ramiro Pena also going 2-for-4.
The series resumes in Pawtucket on Thursday night, with Game 2 of the best-of-five series set for 7:05 p.m. Righty Ramon Ortiz (13-6, 3.45) will go for the Yanks, while the PawSox will counter with southpaw Chris Hernandez (1-4, 3.59).
TRENTON: The Thunder opened their postseason by dropping a 4-2 decision in Reading to the Phillies, with Eastern League regular-season wins leader Brett Marshall taking the loss.
Trenton struck first, getting a two-run homer from outfielder Ramon Flores - who just joined the Thunder from Class-A Tampa on Monday - to take a 2-0 lead in the top of the fourth inning. However, the R-Phils tied it up in the bottom of the fifth behind a solo homer from DH Jake Fox and left fielder Jiwan James, then took the lead in the seventh thanks to back-to-back solo shots from catcher Tommy Joseph and right fielder Leandro Castro.
On the mound, Marshall (0-1) allowed four runs on six hits over his seven innings, with Mark Montgomery striking out two in a scoreless eighth. Offensively, outfielder Adonis Garcia was 2-for-4 and scored on Flores' home run, but outside of those two, the rest of the lineup was held to four hits by Reading hurlers Austin Hyatt, Tyler Knigge (W, 1-0), and Austin Friend (S, 1). Trenton had two men on in both the eighth and ninth against Knigge and Friend, but were unable to capitalize.
Game 2 will be held in Reading on Thursday night, with first pitch set for 7:05 p.m. The Thunder will send lefty Shaeffer Hall (9-10, 3.67) to the bump to try to tie the series, while the R-Phils are expected to start righty Trevor May (10-13, 4.87).