It was a beautiful night at PNC Field and Eddy Rodriguez made sure he made the most of it. The light hitting catcher slugged two, two-run home runs and drove in four RBI. His home run in the bottom of the 8th inning with his team down one turned out to be the one that gave his team a 9-8 victory over Pawtucket.
Rodriguez also hit a walk off grand slam during Monday night’s affair in the 12th inning. He now has four home runs on the season.
“I have been searching for 12 years. Offense has always been my challenge.”, said Rodriguez. “Over the last three weeks I found something that has been working for me. My job is to put something in the gap and somethings have worked out really well for us.”
Luis Cessa started for the RailRiders but struggled over his seven innings. Cessa had trouble when his team gave him the lead in the second allowing Rusney Castillo to hit a first pitch hanging curve ball into the left field bullpen for a two-run home run. With his command faltering in the 5th inning, Sam Travis hit a long three-run home run to center to give his team a 6-4 lead. Cessa settled down after the 5th and tossed two scoreless innings after that point. In all the right hander went seven innings, allowing six earned runs. He struck out six and walked three along the way.
“Today I think I pitched good. There were a couple first pitch swinging home runs. I think it was their key to be aggressive.”, said Cessa. “I felt great about my command but it was one of those days where all the runs were the home runs.
Ben Heller come into the game in the 8th inning to relieve Cessa and also struggled, giving up two runs during his two innings. With one out in the 9th inning and the tying run on third, Heller buckled down and struck out Sam Travis and Steve Selsky on sliders.
“I threw sliders that were the shape I am looking for. I threw them with good intensity.”, Heller said. “I executed them where I wanted to. I was pretty pumped up.”
Mike Ford also enjoyed another trip around the bases to lead off the second inning. Ford watched three straight balls but did not miss pitch number four which was right down the middle. His home run to right is his second in as many days.
Clint Frazier had two hits in his first professional game in the five hole. He also drove in a run.
“I just wanted to give everybody a chance to move around in the lineup.”, said manager Al Pedrique. “I thought Frazier was a little frustrated that’s why I gave him a day off last night. I wanted to find out how he would handle hitting fifth and I thought he did it well.
Rob Refsynder also extended his Triple-A hitting streak to 17 games.
“It is not easy to do when you go to New York and sit for two, three days and come back down and keep getting hits.” Pedrique said. “It shows you the focus he has and the desire to do well for himself, and help the team win.