The IronPigs’ Andy Tracey tags out the Yankees’ Juan Miranda as he slides to first.Aimee Dilger/THE TIMES LEADER
MOOSIC — The Yankees clinched at least a wild-card playoff berth in dramatic fashion on Friday night.
Matt Carson scored from first base in the bottom of the ninth when the Lehigh Valley left fielder Brandon Watson dropped a routine fly ball hit by Ben Broussard, giving Scranton/Wilkes-Barre a 13-12 victory over the IronPigs before 10,310 fans at PNC Field.
It was a signature win for the Yankees, who overcame a 10-4 deficit earlier in the game.
The Yankees went into the bottom of the ninth trailing 12-11 after Lehigh Valley’s Jon Knott hit a two-run homer in the top of the frame.
Scranton/Wilkes-Barre drew even at 12-12 on Melky Cabrera’s RBI single with nobody out. But Cabrera almost played the goat’s role when he was caught stealing at third with just one out.
However, Watson’s costly error in left took Cabrera off the hook.
Yankees manager Dave Miley had to search for words after his team’s breathtaking comeback win.
“I really don’t know what to say,” Miley said. “Both teams battled so hard all night. We never gave up and managed to pull it out. … Anytime you can win 13-12 it’s a great accomplishment. When you break camp in spring training, your first goal is to make the playoffs. We’ve had a lot of player moves, but anyone who’s worn a Scranton/Wilkes-Barre uniform this season played a role in what happened tonight.”
The Yankees took an 11-10 lead in the bottom of the eighth on a two-run homer by Shelley Duncan – a moon shot over the billboards behind the left field fence.
Duncan said Broussard was partly responsible, because he gave him a pep talk before Duncan came to bat.
“He kept urging me on,” Duncan said. “He had me really fired up. This was the most exciting game I’ve played in all year.
The Yankees got a sub-par effort from starter Phil Hughes, who had one of his worst outings of his career.
Hughes surrendered eight runs on 10 hits in just 3 1/3 innings of work, with six strikeouts. Hughes’ poor outing might delay his much anticipated return to New York’s pitching rotation.
The IronPigs jumped all over Hughes in the second inning to take a 4-0 lead.
Knott set the tone by slamming a leadoff home run. Brandon Watson later hit a two-run double to make it 3-0. Lehigh Valley scored its fourth run when Mike Rouse came home from third on a groundout.
Hughes gave up four hits in the frame and hit a batter.
SWB trimmed the lead to 4-1 on Eric Duncan’s RBI double in the bottom of the second. Lehigh Valley countered with an RBI double by Jason Jaramillo in the third to pull ahead 5-1.
The Yankees drew to within 5-4 in the bottom of the third, thanks in part to a fielding error by Knott that enabled Shelley Duncan and Juan Miranda to score from first and third respectively.
Eric Duncan’s RBI single accounted for the third run in the inning.
However, the IronPigs countered with three runs off Hughes in the fourth inning to surge ahead 8-5. Oscar Robles had a two-run double and Andy Tracy delivered an RBI single that resulted in Hughes’ departure.