It's a little bit too late for the York Revolution to get back in the race for the first-half Atlantic League Freedom Division crown. At least that's how Revs' manager Andy Etchebarren feels.
With York's 13-10 victory over Lancaster in the series finale at Sovereign Bank Stadium on Sunday, the Revs moved to within five games of the Barnstormers for first place in the division. But with 14 games left in the first half, Etchebarren knows York will need some help.
"Our chances are not very good," he said. "I'm not gonna say it can't happen. But we're gonna have to win two out of three or three out of three in Bridgeport. We're gonna have to come back and beat (Lancaster) four out of four. And then we'll have a chance. But that's a lot to ask."
Etchebarren made his return to the dugout on Sunday for the first time since undergoing back surgery last Tuesday.
It's unclear if his presence had any effect on York's offense, but the Revs had scored just three runs in the previous two games before busting out on Sunday. With the victory, York (29-27) won the three-game series 2-1 and moved two games over .500 for the first time this season.
Slugfest: Sunday's game ended up being a slugfest, which is somewhat surprising considering the matchups of starting pitchers.
Revs' right-hander Corey Thurman and Lancaster righty J.D. Durbin entered the game coming off impressive performances in their last starts.
Lancaster got on the board first with a two-run homer from Ryan Harvey in the top of the second inning.
York answered with five runs off of Durbin in the bottom of the frame, capped by a three-run homer from Brandon Haveman to go up 5-2. Each team added eight runs from there, but York never relinquished the lead. Both teams combined for 25 total hits.
Lancaster later pulled to within three runs in the top of the ninth inning by scoring two runs off of Revs' closer R.J. Rodriguez.
Thurman went just 42/3 innings, giving up eight runs on nine hits while Durbin (3-5) gave up nine runs on eight hits in 32/3 innings.
"These are two great hitting teams," Thurman said. "They're two of the top hitting teams in the league. If you leave the ball up or over the middle of the plate sometimes they make you pay."
Hobson ejected: The 5,478 fans appeared to be entertained by the ejections of Lancaster outfielder Adam Godwin and manager Butch Hobson by first base umpire Eric Diaz in the top of the sixth inning. Godwin got tossed after arguing a close play at first where Diaz called Godwin out on a 4-3 groundout. That prompted Hobson to come out and quickly get the exit sign. Twice Hobson pulled the first base bag out of the ground and threw it in the trash can in York's dugout before finally leaving.
Etch returns: Despite returning Sunday, Etchebarren said because his back isn't fully healed yet, he'll be unable to travel to Bridgeport for York's next three-game series beginning Monday. He's also unsure if he'll be OK to travel later this week for York's following four-game series at Lancaster (34-22). Revs' pitching coach Mark Mason will serve as the team's interim manager.
Game notes: York improved to 10-2 in Thurman's 12 starts. ... With a scoreless seventh inning, Revs' reliever Ricardo Gomez has tossed seven straight scoreless outings, a season-high for any Revs' reliever. ... York's Andres Perez scored four runs to set a season-high for any Revs' player. ... Revs' lefty Chris Waters (1-0, 0.00 ERA) will start against Bridgeport righty Jonah Bayliss (1-3, 3.68) on Monday.
Nowak signed: York slugger Chris Nowak was signed on Friday by Mexico City, of the Mexican League. Nowak left York with a .274 batting average, 10 homers and 33 RBIs in 53 games.
Reach John Walk at email@example.com.