MOOSIC, Pa. – Rochester native Cito Culver, who was a first-round draft choice of the New York Yankees in 2010, perhaps found a way Tuesday night of getting noticed by the team executives in the Bronx.
Culver, who was signed as a shortstop but has become a utility infielder in his minor league career in the Yankee organization, hit a pair of triples in the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders’ 7-0 victory over the Buffalo Bisons. It came before a holiday crowd of 10,000 at PNC Park.
Culver, who is only 24, tripled to lead off the RailRiders’ third inning and scored to make it 4-0. His second three-bagger brought home two more runs in Scranton’s three-run seventh inning. Culver, who is batting .261 for the RailRiders and played first base on Tuesday, then scored his second run of the game on a single by Donovan Solano.
Injuries and callups have taken Gleyber Torres, Clint Frazier, Dustin Fowler and Tyler Wade from the RailRiders but manager Al Pedrique’s team keeps on winning. With the victory the RailRiders (52-32) kept the heat on first-place Lehigh Valley (53-32) in their battle for the International League’s East Division pennant.
Herd shackled: Three RailRiders pitchers combined for the shutout, limiting Buffalo to singles by Jake Elmore in the third, Jason Leblebijian in the fifth and Dwight Smith Jr. in the ninth. The Scranton pitchers combined for 10 strikeouts while walking only three.
Petit ejected: One of the 10 Buffalo strikeout victims was shortstop Gregorio Petit in the fourth inning. Petit took a called third strike, then was ejected by plate umpire Jansen Visconti for disputing the call.
Another rough one: Bisons starter Brett Oberholtzer had his fifth disastrous start in a row. Oberholtzer allowed nine hits and seven earned runs in 6∏ innings. In his last 20 innings (five starts), he has given up 44 hits, and 25 earned runs. This was the longest he has lasted in his last six appearances.
Quick start: The RailRiders jumped on Oberholtzer for three runs in the first inning. Jake Cave opened the inning with a double. Billy McKinney drove in two runs with a triple and scored on a double by Billy Fleming. A double play got Oberholtzer out of the second inning but Culver led off the third with his first triple.
Losing hurts: The Bisons (37-48) have lost 25 of their last 29 games. They are 5-6 versus Scranton/Wilkes-Barre this season.
Next up: Left-hander T. H. House will be the Bisons starter tonight against lefty Daniel Camarena in the second game of this three-game series (7:05 p.m., Radio 1520 AM).