Leaving the ballpark early is never a good idea, as you never know when a supposed laugh-er will turn into a nail-biter.
While the York Revolution came up short by a 12-9 score to open their three-game home series against the Somerset Patriots Friday night, the season-high crowd of 6,268 fans were entertained nontheless until the final out thanks to a six-run rally by York in the bottom of the ninth, including a grand slam by Wilson Valdez. The big crowd was the first over 6,000 this season at Santander Stadium, and the largest crowd at home since September 26 of last season (6,682), for Game 3 of the Freedom Division Championship series against Sugar Land.
The Revs wasted little time in the first, when back to back singles by Valdez and Eric Patterson put runners on the corners for Atlantic League RBI leader Andres Perez. The York DH increased that league-best total to 67 runs driven in with a double crushed the other way to the right-field warning track, scoring each runner standing up for a 2-0 lead.
Revolution starter Rommie Lewis (9-9) was dominant early, setting down the first six batters he faced with three strikeouts. The Patriots got to him in the third and fourth however, scoring five runs to take the lead. They sent all nine batters to the plate in the third, scoring four times on five hits. Mike Wilson (two-run double) and former Marlin and Oriole Robert Andino (RBI single) had the key base knocks. Somerset made it 5-2 an inning later on a pair of doubles as Nate Spears found the right-field line and later scored on a James Skelton two-base hit off the big wall in left field.
After a 1-2-3 bounce back fifth, Lewis ran into trouble again in the sixth when Adam Donachie led off with a double, and later scored on a Jonny Tucker RBI triple into the right field corner. It was 6-2 after that and 8-2 after the half inning, as Lewis lasted five and a third. His final line: 9 H, 8 R, 7 ER, 2 BB, 5 K.
Somerset right-hander Will Oliver, in just his third start for the club after coming up from Evansville of the Frontier League, dazzled following his early struggles. Oliver, who struck out eight, retired the following 14 Revolution batters consecutively following the Perez two-run double in the first. That streak was broken up by a one-out Valdez double to right field in the sixth, and he later scored on a two-out RBI single by Brandon Boggs, which made it an 8-3 ballgame. The Patriots tacked on four more runs in the seventh, punctuated by a two-run single into the right field corner by Skelton to put the game away, or so it seemed, at 12-3.
Oliver (2-1) ended up scattering five hits in seven innings, allowing three earned runs without a walk.
With York still trailing by nine runs in the bottom of the ninth, Somerset reliever Daniel Sattler struggled mightily with his control, twice walking in a run, also in part to a Patriots error that was a seeming double play, which loaded the bases instead. It was a 12-5 game, with still nobody out, when Valdez (4-for-5) stepped back to the plate to face Kyler Newby, after Sattler was lifted. The seven-year MLB veteran infielder promptly launched his first home run of 2015, a grand slam over the Arch Nemesis in left to make the score 12-9. After Patterson walked as the next hitter, York actually had the tying run on deck with still nobody out, but the next three batters were retired in order with Patterson left at third to cap a surprisingly thrilling ninth. It tied the biggest ninth inning in Revs history; it was the third six-run ninth in York's nine seasons.
Notes: York previously scored six runs in the ninth inning on July 5, 2009 at Lancaster (10-5 win) and June 19, 2013 vs. Southern Maryland (9-7 loss). The grand slam was the first of Valdez' career with York, coming on his third career Atlantic League / Revs home run. The four-hit game was his third of the season, and marked his 12th multi-hit game in his last 21 games played, batting .380 on that stretch. The grand slam is the Revs' third of the season (Eric Patterson, July 11 vs. Lancaster; Bryan Pounds, July 18 at Lancaster). With two scoreless innings out of the bullpen, Beau Vaughan has allowed just one run in 22.0 innings over his last 19 appearances. Perez has 16 RBI in the last nine games and 34 RBI in his last 25 games played. York falls 3.5 games behind Lancaster for first place in the second half standings at 22-18. York righty Hunter Adkins (0-0, 10.39) makes his second start, facing Patriots right-hander Mickey Storey (8-3, 2.69) on Saturday at 6:30 p.m.