RailRiders Win In Another Walk Off; Cortes Gets Call To Yanks

May 9, 2019 GMT

MOOSIC — Mandy Alvarez sparked the celebration on the field, then news from New York added to it in the RailRiders clubhouse. Alvarez lined a bases-loaded single in the bottom of the ninth to help the RailRiders walk off Indianapolis, 5-4, at PNC Field on Wednesday, stretching SWB’s winning streak to seven games. Then, with the postgame victory music already blaring in the clubhouse, longtime RailRiders arm Nestor Cortes Jr. learned he was getting called up to the Yankees. “I thought it would never come again, honestly, just because, you know, the way it went down last year and stuff like that,” said Cortes, who made his major league debut with the Baltimore Orioles last year as a Rule 5 pick before being returned to the Yankees. “But I found my way back and I’m so happy right now. I can’t describe by feelings right now.” The Yankees optioned Jake Barrett to the RailRiders after Wednesday’s game, but did not make the Cortes promotion official. Cortes is not on the 40-man roster, so a move will have to be made to open a spot, either by transferring a player to the 60-day injured list or designating someone for assignment. Cortes heads to the Bronx off his best start of the year: a no decision against Syracuse on Saturday where he took a no-hitter into the eighth inning. In 7⅓innings, he allowed one hit, walked three and struck out nine. The Yankees selected Cortes, 24, in the 36th round of the 2013 draft out of Hialeah High School in Florida. He first pitched with the RailRiders in 2016, and has a 3.21 ERA in 41 games with the team since, including some big postseason outings. “One hundred percent sweeter,” Cortes said about getting the call this time. “It’s the team I got drafted by. It’s the team everybody wishes to be in New York with, so yeah, it’s definitely a lot sweeter and a lot better.” The southpaw appeared in four games with Baltimore last season, pitching to a 7.71 ERA out of the bullpen. The mood in the clubhouse was already high after the Alvarez delivered in the ninth inning. It was his third hit of the night, and he could’ve had more if Indianapolis left fielder Jake Elmore didn’t rob him of extra bases and more RBIs with a diving catch to end the seventh inning when the RailRiders had a pair of runners on base. “Felt good. Just happy that I could help the team win,” Alvarez said. “Obviously, that one might’ve helped, too, but at least I got another chance to hit it in a different spot, and luckily, I was able to.” The RailRiders had an early lead after Matt Lipka lined a hanging curve from Mitch Keller, Pittsburgh’s top pitching prospect, into the Indianapolis bullpen for a three-run home run in the second inning. Keller would only last three innings, with the RailRiders working him for 83 pitches. Indianapolis answered the next inning, scoring the first two runs off opener Chad Green since he’s been back with the RailRiders, then adding a third off the newly reacquired Daniel Camarena. Green allowed three hits in 2⅓ innings, walked one and struck out three. Indianapolis took its first lead of the game in the fourth when Pablo Reyes homered, and it took the RailRiders until the sixth inning to tie it up. Alvarez scored that run on a wild pitch by reliever Jesus Liranzo. After reliever Stephen Tarpley rolled a double play to escape a first-and-third, one-out jam in the top of the ninth, the RailRiders rallied in the bottom of the inning with some help from Indianapolis reliever Sean Keselica. He hit Logan Morrison with a pitch, then walked Ryan Lavarnway to put the first two runners of the inning on base. Gosuke Katoh tried to advance the runners with a bunt, but instead wound up with an infield single — his second bunt base hit of the night — to load the bases. Alvarez fouled off some fastballs, then didn’t miss another from the Indians lefty. “Bases loaded, no outs, he probably doesn’t want to throw a breaking ball in the dirt, lose it like that,” Alvarez said. “You never want to say you’ve got the upper hand, but it felt like he’s in a tough spot. So, felt like I had the upper hand the whole time.” Contact the writer: cfoley@timesshamrock.com; 570-348-9125; @RailRidersTT on Twitter