Moosic, PA (SYRACUSE METS) – The Syracuse Mets wrapped up an excellent week at the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders (Triple-A New York Yankees) in style, taking the final game of the series by a 7-4 final on a sunny Sunday outside of Scranton. The 6-0 win was the second half of a doubleheader, with the RailRiders winning a wild first half of the doubleheader by a 9-7 final. The split of the doubleheader means the Mets won the six-game series, four games to two. Syracuse has now won consecutive series and the Mets are 8-2 in their last ten games.
In the bottom of the first inning in game one of the doubleheader, Scranton/Wilkes-Barre (7-8) roared ahead early. After the first two batters were retired in order, the RailRiders got to work. First, Elijah Dunham and Andrés Chapparo both singled to put two runners on base with two outs. Then, Jake Bauers brought everybody home, golfing a go-ahead, three-run home run over the right-field fence to make it a 3-0 game in a flash.
Syracuse (10-5) would not trail for long. The Mets scored twice in the second and once in the third to knot the game right back up at three. Syracuse played long ball in both frames. First, Michael Perez smacked a two-run homer in the second to slim the deficit to one, 3-2. Then, on the first pitch of the third inning, Mark Vientos hit a solo shot over the right-field fence to tie the game up, 3-3. Vientos finished the week with three home runs and now has five dingers on the young season.
From there, the floodgates began to open for both teams. Scranton/Wilkes-Barre scored three more runs of their own in the bottom of the third to take a 6-3 lead. Jake Bauers smacked another three-run home run over the right-field fence, bringing home Dunham and Chapparo yet again in the process. The RailRiders tacked on another run and made it a 7-3 game when Michael Hermosillo went deep in the bottom of the fourth, a solo blast over the left-field fence. It was the second homer of the week for the former Chicago Cub.
True to form this season, Syracuse wasn’t going down without a fight. The Mets mounted one more rally in the top of the fifth inning, scoring four runs to tie the game at seven. The big blow of the inning was a two-run home run from Jaylin Davis, a game-tying shot after the Mets had scored twice earlier on in the inning. It was the first home run of the season for Davis, who joined the Syracuse Mets earlier this week. Davis played against the Mets last season as a member of the Worcester Red Sox.
In the bottom of the fifth, Scranton/Wilkes-Barre scored the game’s final two runs via a familiar fashion. Remarkably, Bauers hit yet another home run, this one a two-run shot that propelled the RailRiders in front for good, 9-7. Bauers had one of the greatest games in the history of Scranton/Wilkes-Barre baseball, finishing the first game of the doubleheader 3-for-3 at the plate with three home runs and eight runs driven in.
Game two of the doubleheader took a totally different tone as Syracuse led from start to finish. The Mets got right to work in the top of the first, scoring three runs on three hits to shoot right in front by a 3-0 count. Jonathan Araúz brought home one of the runs via an RBI single, and Davis brought the other runs home with a two-run double. Davis drove in four combined runs in Sunday’s doubleheader. He had not driven in any runs in his first three games with the Syracuse Mets.
In the top of the second, the Mets tacked on two more runs. After the first two batters went down in order, Syracuse started its two-out rally. First, Nick Meyer singled, and Lorenzo Cedrola was hit by a pitch to put two runners on base with two outs. Danny Mendick then reached on an error to load up the bases, and Mark Vientos did his normal damage, smacking a single into right field that scored Meyer and Cedrola. The two-run single for Vientos made it a 5-0 lead for Syracuse in the game’s first two innings.
The Mets scored yet again in the top of the fifth inning when Vientos doubled with one out, advanced to third on a wild pitch, and scored on a sacrifice fly from Araúz to make it 6-0.
While the Mets offense was racking up the runs, their starting pitcher backed them up with a brilliant outing. Humberto Mejia was downright unhittable at times, tossing five scoreless innings with just two hits allowed and seven strikeouts. Each of Mejia’s strikeouts were swinging strikeouts. The RailRiders did not have a hit until the fifth inning.
Scranton/Wilkes-Barre entered the bottom of the sixth inning down 6-0 but had a rally in them. The RailRiders plated four runs on three hits to climb back in the ballgame, sending the side to the plate in the process. Scranton/Wilkes-Barre benefited from three walks as well to help score their four runs. Mickey Gasper and Wilmer Difo both had RBI singles in the four-run flurry in the sixth as Sctanton/Wilkes-Barre cut the deficit to two, 6-4.
Vientos and Araúz combined for Syracuse’s seventh and final run in the game in the top of the seventh when Vientos doubled one more time, and Araúz singled him home to make it a 7-4 game. Vientos finished the doubleheader a combined 5-for-6 at the plate with two doubles, a home run, four runs driven in, and four runs scored. Araúz reached base a combined four times in the doubleheader, scored two runs, and drove in three more runs.
After Syracuse’s insurance run in the top of the seventh inning made it 7-4, the plot thickened in the bottom of the seventh. After Jamie Westbrook grounded out to start the frame, Andrés Chapparo and Grant Hartwig faced each other in an at-bat for the ages. The battle went to an astounding 18 pitches with Chapparo fouling off 12 consecutive pitches at one point. Finally, Hartwig threw ball four to Chapparo, putting a runner on first base with one out in a 7-4 game in the seventh inning (the final inning in a doubleheader).
Things continued to get interesting, as Jake Bauers promptly walked, and Jesus Bastidas singled to load the bases with one out. Hartwig then recorded a crucial strikeout, fanning Rodolfo Durán for the second out of the inning. That brought Zach Muckenhirn out of the bullpen, with the lefty reliever due to face Mickey Gasper with the game on the line. Muckenhirn got the job done, inducing a weak pop out to shallow right field that ended the game and allowed Syracuse to escape with a 7-4 win. Hartwig and Muckenhirn have been two of the best relievers in the International League so far this season. The pair have combined to toss 13 and two-thirds scoreless innings in eight total appearances, racking up 12 total strikeouts in the process.
Syracuse returns home all next week, playing six games from Tuesday through Sunday against the Triple-A affiliate of the Tampa Bay Rays, the Durham Bulls. Game one in the week-long series is set for 6:35 p.m. on Tuesday night.