Peter O’Brien continued his destruction of Eastern League pitching on Monday night, going 2-for-4 while ripping his sixth home run since joining Trenton ten days ago. O’Brien paced the offense as he drove home four runs, leading the Thunder to a 6-4 victory over the Harrisburg Senators and ending the team’s six-game losing streak.
After starting pitcher Manny Banuelos was scratched with a fatigued/sore arm, the Thunder turned to the bullpen to get them through the game. Jairo Heredia and former Harrisburg pitcher Cole Kimball combined to strike out nine batters over five innings, leaving manager Tony Franklin quite happy to have the game tied at two when Kimball exited.
“It was pretty much a bullpen day for us,” Franklin noted. “And they did pretty doggone good.”
The tie would not last long, as relief pitcher Manny Barreda entered and turned in arguably his worst performance of the season. He surrendered two quick runs to the Senators, putting Harrisburg up 4-2 heading into the bottom of the seventh inning.
However, a Thunder lineup that is arguably the deepest in the Eastern League would not stay down for long. After a leadoff single by Gary Sanchez, O’Brien launched an RBI double to left-center field off Harrisburg starter Omar Poveda, bringing Trenton within one run. Two batters later, Taylor Dugas greeted relief pitcher Matt Grace by poking a single into shallow right field that tied the game. Trenton completed the comeback when Slade Heathcott worked a bases-loaded walk to take the lead.
The Thunder would add an insurance run in the eighth, which they nearly needed after Barreda ran into trouble in the game’s final frame. After allowing a pair of singles to start the inning and bringing the go-ahead run to the plate, Thunder manager Tony Franklin turned to Taylor Garrison to close out the game. Garrison promptly induced a fielder’s choice and a game-ending double play to shut the door on the Senators.
The Thunder and the Senators return to action on Tuesday, as Trenton sends ace right-hander Bryan Mitchell (1-2, 3.74 ERA) to the mound. He will square off with former New York Yankees Rule V selection Brad Meyers (0-1, 4.15 ERA). First pitch from ARM & HAMMER Park will be 7:05 PM.