After playing consecutive 11-inning games, Durham didn’t have the gas, or the arms, to keep up with league-leading Scranton/Wilkes Friday night at the DBAP.
The RailRiders (76-42), owners of the best record in the league, jumped on the Bulls (72-46) early and never looked back, holding on for a 6-2 win. Thursday night the teams played an 11-inning pitchers duel, with Durham getting the 1-0 win after a walk-off single from Johnny Field.
Thursday was also a bullpen night, so Durham went through plenty of arms. That meant Friday’s starter Ryan Yarbrough had to carry the load, going five innings, giving up nine hits and four runs. After the Bulls held the RailRiders scoreless the previous night, Yarbrough knew he would face a much more aggressive team.
“I think that’s what you saw,” Yarbrough said. “A couple of strikeouts early and they started to settle with all the hits. I think they were definitely trying to get back in the groove.”
Scranton/Wilkes jumped out to a 4-0 lead, getting two earned runs in the third, before Tyler Austin, on Yarbrough’s 87th pitch of the night, jacked a two-run home run over the centerfield wall. At the time that felt like the nail in the coffin, but Durham would rally to cut the lead in half. In the fifth inning, Taylor Featherston hit a solo home run and Willy Adames scored Kean Wong, giving the 9,536 fans in attendance some hope there would be a rally.
The RailRiders had other plans. In the top of the seventh McKinney hit the second two-run homer of the night, pushing the Scranton/Wilkes lead to four runs.
“Scranton’s a good team,” Bulls’ manager Jared Sandberg said. “They came out tonight and put together a rally. They made Yarbrough pay for some mistakes.”
Yarbrough got off to a good start, picking up all six of his strikeouts before giving up his first run. He battled, Sandberg said, but the RailRiders made some adjustments at the plate on the tall lefty.
“They started to sit on (balls) and see pitches a little bit better,” Yarbrough said. “I was getting more hitters counts and not putting myself in counts where I could have some success. They took advantage of it. I tried to just limit some damage of all the hits they had, but they were just a pretty aggressive team tonight.”
Scranton/Wilkes-Barre finished with 13 hits to Durham’s six. Chance Adams (9-3) picked up the win for the RailRiders, while Yarbrough dropped to 12-6 this season.
The two teams play game three of the series Saturday at 6:35 p.m. Michael Roth (2-4) gets the start for the Bulls. Bryan Mitchell (2-3) will start for Scranton/Wilkes.