The Hartford Yard Goats put up crooked numbers in three innings to overwhelm the Harrisburg Senators 8-4 in the homestand finale at FNB Field on Thursday night in front of 3,062 fans.
John Simms was activated off the disabled list earlier in the day to make the start for Harrisburg. The 24-year-old right-hander went three innings allowing two runs on a home run to Raimel Tapia. Simms (1-2) walked one and struck out one as he yielded two hits.
The Senators (10-15) got one back in the fourth inning as Rafael Bautista laced his first home run just inside the left field foul pole. Harrisburg put up the picket fence in the next two innings as they plated a run in each of those frames as well. Stephen Perez scored Chris Bostick from third base with an RBI single and Wilmer Difo scampered home on a wild pitch an inning later.
But by then Hartford had already gotten to reliever Andrew Robinson for another three runs as they cashed in on a two-out, bases loaded situation. For the second day in a row, the Yard Goats did their damage to the Senators with two outs as Hartford plated five total runs that way including a three-run home run off Koda Glover in the seventh inning to give them a 8-3 lead.
“We didn’t make pitches. We fought our way back into it, but we just couldn’t end their threats,” manager Matt LeCroy said about the Yard Goats’ timely hitting. “To me, that’s just will. I’m going to will myself out of this inning. I’m not going to give up any. On the flip side, that’s been our Achilles heel.”
Harrisburg would push one more across in the eighth on a Bostick single to left, but that was close as the Senators would get. Bostick would lead all Senators’ batters with three hits, while Difo and Perez each chipped in with two apiece.
LeCroy spoke about Difo’s night and what this may mean to the struggling infielder. “I know he’s pressing. For him to get two hits tonight hopefully that relaxes him a little bit more,” the skipper said.
Nick Lee was the lone Harrisburg pitcher to keep Hartford off the board as the southpaw threw two scoreless innings despite walking two batters.
The Senators embark on a six-game road trip starting with a visit to Trenton on Friday night as RHP Jaron Long faces off against his old team and the Thunder’s RHP Brady Lail.