Peraza, Brito help RailRiders quiet Buffalo; Dietrich suspended

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Aug. 6—MOOSIC — Even though he's just 22 years old, Oswald Peraza could use a day off here and there, Scranton/Wilkes-Barre manager Doug Davis knows.

Outside of a bout with a virus that sidelined him for a few days in June, the shortstop prospect has been a constant in the RailRiders lineup this year. He trails outfielder Estevan Florial by two for the team lead in games played.

Davis decided to rest Peraza for Thursday's game against Buffalo, then slotted him right back into the lineup at second base Friday as the RailRiders headed into a key weekend against a division foe.

On the 10th pitch of the evening, Peraza put the RailRiders ahead for good.

Peraza cranked a two-run drive to deep left off Buffalo starter Shaun Anderson, keeping it just inside the foul pole. SWB starter Jhony Brito tossed scoreless ball into the sixth inning, and the RailRiders beat the Bisons, 5-0, at PNC Field for their ninth shutout of the season. That's one off the league lead.

The RailRiders (53-50) capitalized on a wild pitch and an error to tack on two more runs in the fourth, and while his 11-game hitting streak came to an end, shortstop Oswaldo Cabrera worked a bases-loaded walk in the sixth to cap the scoring.

"That was big," Davis said of Peraza's first-inning blast. "I'm trying to give him some breaks every once in a while, give him a little rest, keep him fresh. He was ready for that one pitch and didn't miss it. He's done that quite a few times. He continues to impress at a young age. That was huge to put us up by two."

Peraza hit a career-high 18 home runs last season in 115 games across three levels of the Yankees system. He has 15 this year in 80 games, all at Triple-A.

The early lead was more than enough for Brito and the RailRiders bullpen, although it took an inning for the 24-year-old righty to settle into a rhythm. He walked the second batter of the game, then with two outs, Nathan Lukes added a single. Brito fell behind, 3-0, in the count to Cullen Large, a switch hitter who's done his share of damage against the RailRiders and ultimately walked him to load the bases. With a right-handed batter on deck, it was something that actually impressed his manager.

"He's not giving in and I'm glad he didn't," Davis said.

Brito fanned that next hitter, Stevie Berman, on three pitches to end the inning — one of his Triple-A-best seven strikeouts on the night.

"That is one of the things that really I have learned throughout the years," Brito said through a translator. "And they always tell me hey when your pitches are not working, then you use the best pitches that you have. You use your strengths. And in my case, my strengths were the two-seamer, the sinker and the changeup. So, I used those and they got me out of it."

Brito faced two more than the minimum the rest of the way, erasing a leadoff walk in the third with an around-the-horn double play that started with a slick pick by third baseman Armando Alvarez and allowed Peraza to show off his arm strength on the turn, firing to first to get Vinny Capra by a step. Brito let up a double to Lukes to start the fourth, and after Lukes moved up to third on a groundout back to the mound, Brito struck out the next two hitters.

Brito lasted 5 1/3 innings, allowed two hits and walked four, keeping Buffalo off the scoreboard to lower his ERA with SWB to 2.79 and improve to 6-2.

"Every once in a while, he loses a bit of his command," Davis said. "But he's able, when he's got runners on base, to come back. He can get ground balls and he can get punchouts. He's got a lot of things that work well for him and tonight he used them all."

José Mujica took over in the sixth and struck out three of the nine batters he faced. Zach Greene inherited two runners in the eighth, escaped that jam with a strikeout and then rolled a game-ending double play to wash away a one-out walk in the ninth.

Dietrich suspended

Earlier Friday, Major League Baseball announced RailRiders infielder Derek Dietrich was suspended for 50 games after violating the minor league drug prevention and treatment program. The 33-year-old with more than six years of big league service time, tested positive for a stimulant, 1,4-dimethylpentylamine.

Dietrich hasn't played since July 12, leaving that day's game against Louisville because of a knee injury. Davis said the knee injury likely would've still kept Dietrich out through this two-series homestand.

Dietrich, who also saw time with the RailRiders in 2021, was batting .244 with a .308 on-base percentage and a .402 slugging percentage in 41 games this year with SWB. By all accounts, however, his presence in the clubhouse was a major factor in Scranton/Wilkes-Barre turning its season around.

"He's a big part of this team," Davis said. "He's a guy that everybody looks up to. Again, he brings a lot of energy. But I think also, some guys have picked up on that and will pick up the slack there. He'll be here during the day prior to the games and continue to do exactly what he always does, which is very necessary and very appreciative from our standpoint. Everybody's got his back on this and we'll hopefully be able to get him back before, potentially, the playoffs."

The start of Dietrich's suspension was backdated to July 30.

Contact the writer:

cfoley@timesshamrock.com;

570-348-9125;

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