AP NEWS

Big Inning, Hale Send RailRiders Past Buffalo

April 13, 2019

MOOSIC — For the first time in seven games, the RailRiders were not the first team to score Friday. A solo home run by Buffalo’s Jordan Patterson in the second inning took care of that. For only the second time this season, the RailRiders didn’t score a run in the first inning. One turn through the lineup, and the team was still looking for its first hit. David Hale bought his offense plenty of time, and the second time through the lineup, SWB scored four runs — all in one inning. Ryan Lavarnway ripped a single with the bases loaded to key a big fourth-inning rally and Hale allowed just two hits in a rain-shortened gem as the RailRiders topped Buffalo, 4-1, in five innings at PNC Field. “It just shows they can do it at any point in the game,” said Hale, who was credited with just his second career complete game. “Once they get something going, they usually put up three or four (runs). It’s hardly ever one at a time, so as a pitcher that’s nice.” The RailRiders scored first in seven straight games after Buffalo kicked off the season with a three-spot in the bottom of the first of the season opener, but only managed a walk and a hit by pitch in the first three innings Friday against big league rehabber Ryan Tepera and scheduled starter Sean Reid-Foley. Mike Ford, who entered the game hitting .448 with a 1.481 OPS, didn’t get a chance to swing the first time through, taking a bounced pitch from Tepera off his shin. Second time through, though, Ford started the rally. With an overshift to his pull side, the lefty slugger shot a ground ball down the left-field line off Reid-Foley and went first to third on Mandy Alvarez’s single to center. Gosuke Katoh walked to load the bases. Reid-Foley won an eight-pitch at-bat against Ryan McBroom with a strikeout, but Lavarnway turned on the next pitch and sent a line drive single into left to score two and give the RailRiders a 2-1 lead. Zack Zehner added an RBI single and Billy Burns brought in another when he reached on an error with the bases loaded. Besides the second-inning homer to Patterson, Hale allowed just one other hit — a booming double by Bo Bichette off the wall in deep left-center field. Otherwise, he struck out seven and walked one. “What I like best is how he commands, his mound presence is excellent,” RailRiders manager Jay Bell said. “That’s one thing, as I’m watching out there, I feel good with him out there, because I feel like he’s extremely composed.” Hale faced Buffalo his first start of the season and allowed one run on four hits in 5⅔ innings. The Bisons scored 27 runs in their other four games against the RailRiders this year. “Just kind of tried to stick with what I did with them last time, but me mindful of they were probably watching that last outing,” Hale said. In the first outing, he struck out just two batters. This time, Bisons hitters couldn’t figure out his mix of breaking balls, changeups and fastballs. “Tried to mix it up where I could, but still attack the way I wanted to. Right now, I’m on pace to throw against them again. So, start the season with three straight games against Buffalo.” Contact the writer: cfoley@timesshamrock.com; 570-348-9125; @RailRidersTT on Twitter