The Pulaski Yankees (29-13) used a two out rally in the 8th inning to get by the Bluefield Blue jays (28-15) by a 3-1 score on Saturday night al Calfee Park. The pinstripers took three games out of their four-game set against the Jays to give them a 1.5 game lead in the Appalachian League East Division headed into the final weeks of the season.
The play of the game happened in the bottom of the 8th when Saul Torres singled home the go-ahead run to make it 2-1. Victor Rey singled to bring home another to give the Yankees a 3-1 lead heading into the 9th.
Yankees starter Daniel Ramos pitched six innings and gave up one earned run while striking out five. Reliever Abel Duarte (2-1) earned the win by pitching 2.1 innings of scoreless relief.
Blue Jays starter Josh Winckowski had a strong outing. He pitched six shutout innings while surrendering just two hits and one walk. Bluefield reliever Joe DiBenedetto (3-1) was saddled with the loss. He was charged with the two earned runs in the bottom of the 8th that gave the Yankees the victory.
Rey and Eduardo Torrealba anchored the Yankees offense by combining for five of the team’s seven hits. Brandon Grudzielanek was the only Blue Jay to have a multi-hit performance. He went three for four with a run scored.
The Yankees took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the 2nd. Frederick Cuevas led off the inning with a double and advanced to 3rd on a throwing error by leftfielder Antony Fuentes. Cuevas came home to score on an RBI groundout to short by Jesus Bastidas.
Bluefield tied the score at 1-1 in the top of the 5th. Grudzielanek led off with a base hit and advanced to 3rd on a double from Ryan Gold. Fuentes followed with a sac fly to center that chased home Grudzielanek to even the score.
The Yankees took a 2-1 lead in the 8th. Leobaldo Cabrera reached base with a leadoff walk. With one out Torrealba moved Cabrera to 2nd with a bunt single.
Blue Jays closer Ty Tice was brought into the game with two outs to try and record the final out, but Torres sent a sharp single up the middle that scored Cabrera to give the Yankees a 2-1 lead. Rey followed with a base hit that scored Torrealba from 2nd to give the Yankees a 3-1 edge going into the 9th.
The Jays refused to go down quietly in the 9th. Ryan Noda sent a one out single into left which brought Matthew Wivinis in from the bullpen. Wivinis surrendered a single to Grudzielanek to put the tying run on base. With two outs a wild pitch allowed both runners to move into scoring position for Fuentes but Wivinis got him to groundout to 3rd to end the ballgame. Wivinis was credited with his fifth save of the year.
The Yankees hit the road for three games apiece in Princeton and Burlington. The pinstripers return home to begin a four-game series against the Bristol Pirates on Saturday, August 12th. First pitch is scheduled for 7pm.