Coming off a night that saw southpaw Justus Sheffield pitch his best game of the season, Thunder starter Ronald Herrera tossed a gem of his own on Tuesday night to lead Trenton to a second consecutive victory over the Reading Fightin’ Phils by a score of 5-2 at ARM & HAMMER Park.
The 22-year old Herrera, who was acquired from the San Diego Padres in the deal for Jose Pirela in November of 2015, has been superb since coming off the DL to make his season debut on April 30.
Trenton used a trio of triples from Abiatal Avelino, Tyler Austin and Jake Cave in the bottom half of the third inning along with RBI groundouts by Thairo Estrada and Miguel Andujar to strike for an early 3-0 advantage. Reading would strike back for a run of their own in the top-half of the fourth on Andrew Pullin‘s tenth homer of the season.
An RBI single by Estrada in the fourth followed by one from outfielder Billy McKinney in the fifth inning allowed the Thunder to take a commanding 5-1 lead.
Herrera cruised his way through seven strong innings, allowing just two earned runs on four hits with seven strikeouts in his 90-pitch masterpiece. Reliever Matt Marsh pitched a scoreless eighth inning and closer Cale Coshow nailed down his Eastern League leading 10th save of the season to preserve Herrera’s fifth win in as many starts.
Tuesday night’s victory improved Trenton’s league best mark to 27-15 and extended their lead over Reading in the division to 1 1/2 games heading into their matchup on Wednesday.
Notes: Austin showed no lingering issues with his foot as he legged out two triples on Tuesday night. The rehabbing big leaguer has now gone 5-for-11 with three extra base hits in his stay with Trenton.
Now that Gleyber Torres has left the team, I would expect more attention to be paid to Estrada, who is quietly hitting a league-best .341 and posting a league-best on-base percentage of .430.
Andujar now quietly has driven in 30 runs on the season, good for fifth best in the league. He has driven in 16 in his last 17 games. With the bats of Mike Ford and Torres now gone, Andujar will be relied on heavily to fuel the Trenton offense.