(PR) (Harrisburg, PA) – Trenton rallied for two runs in the ninth against former Thunder hurler and current Washington Nationals big-leaguer Christian Garcia and won for the seventh straight game, taking the series opener, 4-3, Friday night at Metro Bank Park.
Kevin Mahoney and Ali Castillo had RBI singles against Garcia (0-1) who was beginning a Major League rehab assignment, and the Thunder earned their fourth ninth-inning comeback win in the last week.
Leading 3-2 entering the ninth inning, Harrisburg called on Garcia, who pitched in parts of three seasons with Trenton (2008-10) and is on his way to back to Nationals following a forearm injury. The leadoff batter Jose Pirela reached when third baseman Jose Lozada threw wildly on a routine groundball. Neil Medchill followed with a single putting runners on first and second.
After Walter Ibarra sacrificed each man into scoring position, Mahoney fought off a tough pitch into shallow left field for a game-tying single. Castillo followed with a sharp line drive single to left, bringing in Medchill with the go-ahead run. Trenton had rallied from a 4-1 ninth-inning deficit to win in 12 innings Thursday against Erie.
Tommy Kahnle pitched around a one-out single in the bottom of the ninth to record his eighth save in as many opportunities, striking out the final two Harrisburg batters on hard fastballs. Matt Daley (3-0) recorded only one out in the eighth inning but was credited with the win.
A solo home run from Kyle Roller (7) and an RBI double from Slade Heathcott against Senators starter Paul Demny had given Trenton a 2-1 lead into the bottom of the seventh. Matt Tracy started for the Thunder and allowed only one unearned run in 5.1 innings, and has not allowed an earned run in his last three starts.
But Harrisburg touched new Trenton reliever Cesar Cabral for two solo home runs in the seventh to take the lead, the first from Justin Bloxom (3) and the second from Sean Nicol (2). Cabral, who is on the Yankees’ 60-day DL but has never pitched above Double-A, joined the team before the game on Major League rehab.
The second game of the series will be played Saturday night beginning at 7:00 pm. Right-hander Jose Ramirez (1-2, 2.59) is expected to start for the Thunder while the Senators counter with righty Caleb Clay (4-2, 4.31). Radio coverage on 91.3 FM (WTSR) and also streaming online begins at 10:15 am.