In his Triple-A debut, Nestor Cortes pitched 5 2/3 no-hit innings to pace the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Rail Riders in a 4-0 win over the Buffalo Bisons at Coca-Cola Field Tuesday night.
Cortes hit the first batter he faced -- Dalton Pompey. He settled in, picking up his first strike out when Chris Colabello failed to check his swing. He walked four and and the only player to get a really good swing on one of his pitches, A.J. Jimenez, reached on a fielding error by second baseman Pete Kozma.
The 21-year-old lefty was a draft pick of the Yankees in 2013 and spent his first three seasons in rookie ball. He pitched in Class A, High-A and Double-A this season before joining Scranton Tuesday. Cortes finished with three walks and four strike outs throwing 99 pitches, 63 for strikes.
On going against Cortes: "A finesse guy. Threw three of his pitches for strikes and we didn’t barrel too many of them up," Bisons manager Gary Allenson said. "Once you see him the first time up, you kind of have an idea of the timing part of it. He pitched good. Tip our hats to him, but I’ve said that to you enough times this year."
Facing Cortes: Bisons catcher A.J. Jimenez said Cortes was difficult to read. "He was mixing the pitches really well. He’s got a lot of pitches, side-armer once in a while and he was keeping us off balance and you see the results," Jimenez said. He added that not having a scouting report on a pitcher provides a different set of challenges. "Sometimes it can play either way. You have no idea how he throws so you put the best swing you can, but sometimes, see what happened out there, we didn't know the guy and he took advantage of it"
Breaking up the no-hitter: Luis Severino came in to relieve Cortes in the sixth inning and promptly gave up a single to Matt Dominguez. Jimenez picked up a hit in the eighth, the only two allowed by Severino who struck out five Bisons' batters.
Defensive substitution: In the top of the sixth, Jio Mier came in to the game replacing Ryan Goins. When asked about the move after the game Allenson said, "I have no idea right now. I was just told to get him out of the game as soon as I could so I don’t know what’s going on up above. I have a tough enough time figuring out our game. … Goins if he’s going up, he’s going to the level he belongs at I think. So good for him." Reports from the media with the Toronto Blue Jays in Baltimore said Goins was joining the big club. Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said infielder Darwin Barney has to deal with some "personal business."
Building a lead: Scranton took a 1-0 lead in the first when Rob Refsnyder's single scored Ben Gamel from second. Three straight hits in the fourth gave the Rail Riders another run, with Donovan Solano cashing in the RBI. Solano added another RBI single in the sixth as the Rail Riders inched their way to a 3-0 lead. Mason Williams added another RBI single in the eighth.
Relief work: Danny Barnes struck out the side in the ninth. He has struck out 43 percent of the batters he has faced (37 of 88) and has allowed just one earned run in 17 outings with the Bisons.
The series: Scranton already clinched the season series over the Herd for the seventh time in the last 11 years. The Bisons won four of the first five meetings while Scranton has won 11 of the last 12.
Roster move: Before the game the Bisons placed Alexi Casilla to the disabled list retroactive to Aug. 28.
All-Star: Jesus Montero was named to the International League All-Star team as a designated hitter Tuesday afternoon. The Rail Riders had the IL MVP in Ben Gamel and the manager of the year in Al Pedrique. Also making the All-Star team were catcher Gary Sanchez and outfielder Aaron Judge, now both up with the Yankees, and second baseman Donovan Solano.
Counting the house: There were 8,883 at Coca-Cola Field Tuesday night.
Up next: The series continues Wednesday (7:05 p.m.) with lefty Scott Diamond (9-13, 4.02) scheduled to start for the Bisons against lefty Richard Bleier (2-3, 3.83). The final game at Coca-Cola Field will be Thursday at 6:05 p.m. with righty Jason Berken (0-1, 3.92) vs. lefty Phil Coke (4-3, 3.09).