At some point, the 27-10 Harrisburg Senators will stop surprising me with how they keep pulling victories out of their collective hats.
No deficit is too insurmountable. No challenge is too impossible.
The Senators did it again on Tuesday night at FNB Field. After being held to only two hits through seven innings, the Senators exploded for five runs on their way to a 6-4 victory over the Trenton Thunder.
“They believe no matter what that we have a chance to win,” Senators’ manager Matt LeCroy said. “These guys compete every night. They pull for one another. No matter what the situation is each guy thinks they can do it. They believe in each other, and I think that’s the key to what we’re doing right now.”
Down 3-1 entering the eighth inning, the Senators’ rally began as Thunder shortstop Kyle Holder airmailed a throw on a routine grounder putting Hunter Jones on second base. 18-year-old Luis Garcia (at least for two more days) followed with a bases-loaded walk when he laid off an eye-level fastball from Trenton reliever Joe Table (Jose Mesa Jr.).
Ian Sagdal, who had one of their two previous hits and the lone RBI up to that point, singled through the box scoring Jones and advancing Garcia to second base. Cleanup hitter Drew Ward lofted a fly ball to left field, and Garcia took a chance tagging up on the play to position himself 90 feet away from tying the game up.
Southpaw Trevor Lane replaced Mesa on the mound and in doing so switched Chuck Taylor to the right side of the plate. Taylor hits for average a little better as a right-hander, but the big difference is his ability to drive the ball as evident by a nearly 100 point difference in his slugging percentages. Also, Taylor had gone 0-for-3 with three strikeouts previously in the game off right-handed pitchers Albert Abreu and Mesa.
It was a decision that would come back to haunt Trenton manager Patrick Osborne as Taylor doubled off the left-centerfield wall to give the Senators the 4-3 lead.
“In that situation, it helped us,” LeCroy said. “He had a tough night left-handed, and he came in, they turned him around. He got one up in the wind for a huge hit.”
After Rhett Wiseman walked, catcher Tres Barrera doubled into the gap to score Taylor and Wiseman adding a couple of insurance runs to the tally.
The extra breathing room was necessary as Joan Baez, working his second inning of relief, allowed a run and put the tying runs on base before inducing a game-ending double-play.
Washington Nationals’ reliever Trevor Rosenthal pitched a scoreless inning of relief in his rehab appearance for Harrisburg. The right-hander who struggled with his command in seven appearances with the Nationals didn’t look much better for their Class AA affiliate on Tuesday.
Rosenthal walked two, and threw only 12 strikes out of 26 pitches including two that went all the way to the backstop.
Whatever’s ailing the 28-year-old, whether it’s mental or physical, isn’t corrected yet that’s for sure.