No matter what left-hander Chase Wright does the rest of his career, he'll always be connected to April 22 in Boston's Fenway Park. Making his second career start for the New York Yankees, Wright became just the second pitcher ever to give up four consecutive home runs.
Two out in the fourth. Manny Ramirez took him deep. So did J.D. Drew. Mike Lowell. And Jason Varitek. A 3-0 lead gone. A place in history assured.
"When you go through something, some people look at it as a negative no matter what it is," Wright said Tuesday after getting the win in the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees' 15-4 thumping of the Buffalo Bisons in Dunn Tire Park. "But I plan on playing for a while and I have to take positives out of there. Hopefully, I don't have to go through anything like that again but I'm definitely stronger for it."
Wright (3-2) went 5 2/3 innings Tuesday, allowing three runs on five hits. He struck out a season-high six and walked two, his first free passes in the 42 1/3 innings he's worked in Triple-A.
"That was pretty good all the way around," said the 23-year-old Texan. "I didn't have a great outing. It was all right but when the offense gets that much, you don't have to be perfect."
Wright was 22-7 in Class A ball the last two years and all the attention paid to the Boston debacle has pushed aside the fact he actually won his first big-league outing, going five innings to beat Cleveland on April 17.
"You really don't hear too many people talking about that one," he said with a laugh. "It's mostly the Boston thing."
Wright's picture was in Sports Illustrated, reacting in the moments after Varitek's blast. And at seemingly every stop on the road since, someone has reached out with pen and magazine and asked him to John Hancock the image.
"The first time I saw it was back in [Double-A] Trenton," he said. "I was by the stands and a little kid came up to me and said, 'Mr. Wright, I know this may be kind of hurtful but would you mind signing this?' I didn't even know I was in there. I was like, 'Oh, this is awesome, man. Sure, I'll sign it.' "
"It's sure been well-documented," said Scranton manager Dave Miley. "But that's baseball and I'm sure he learned from that. Those were pretty good hitters he gave them up to. Nothing to be ashamed of."
Wright had given up five home runs his last two outings for Scranton but was able to keep his fastball down Tuesday as the Bisons managed just two flyball outs.
"You don't keep the ball down and keep mixing in offspeed pitches, you're going to get in trouble," Wright said. ". . . I finally got back to following through, keeping my fastball down and letting its movement work."
The Yankees had lost six of their previous seven games, scoring just 16 runs in those defeats. But they exploded in this one after breaking a 2-2 tie on third baseman Angel Chavez's three-run homer to right-center in the fourth. They made it a laugher with a seven-run seventh.
There were 5,922 tickets sold but only about 500 fans on hand on a chilly night. . . . Buffalo equaled its season high by making four errors and four pitchers combined to issue 10 walks. . . . The series continues tonight (7:05 p.m., Radio 1230 and 1330 AM). The Bisons have not yet named a starting pitcher. Double-A call-up Tim Lavigne goes for Scranton.
Scranton-WB 15 Bisons 4
The Pitch: Chavez homers, drives in five runs for Yanks. ... Mulhern heads Buffalo offense with two doubles, three RBIs. ... Francisco extends hitting streak to 17 games.
Fast fact: The top four hitters in the Buffalo order were a combined 3 for 18.
Next game: Tonight vs. Scranton- WB at Dunn Tire Park, 7:05 p.m. (20 Years Together/Bartolo Colon Poster Night)