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Yanks cut magic number to 2

SWB could clinch its third straight division title as early as tonight with a win and some help.

Not only are the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees on the verge of winning their third consecutive division championship, they’re doing it in convincing fashion.

Five different players had two hits apiece as the Yankees banged out 14 hits for the second consecutive game in an 8-6 win against Buffalo on Wednesday night at Coca-Cola Field in Buffalo, N.Y.

The Yankees won their fourth consecutive game and their sixth in seven games to raise their record to a season-best 77-58 – moving to 19 games above .500 for the first time this season.

More importantly, the win lowered SWB’s magic number to clinching the International League North championship to just two. The Yankees can clinch the title today with a win at Buffalo, followed by a loss by second-place Syracuse to Lehigh Valley.

Freddy Guzman, Austin Jackson, Shelley Duncan, Juan Miranda and Colin Curtis each had two hits for the Yankees on Wednesday.

Guzman, acquired in a trade with Baltimore two days ago, finished with two hits for the second consecutive night. The former San Diego Padre and Texas Ranger also scored two runs and had a RBI.

The Bisons took a 2-0 lead in the third inning on a solo home run by Josh Peterson – one of Buffalo’s three home runs – and a triple by Argentis Reyes, who scored on a wild pitch by SWB starting pitcher Anthony Claggett.

Claggett pitched well enough to earn the win and even his record at 7-7. The right-hander gave up three runs on seven hits – including two home runs – in five innings. He struck out five.

The Yankees tied the game at 2-2 in the top of the fourth, taking advantage of two Buffalo errors. Duncan hit an RBI double and Cody Ransom hit the first of his two sacrifice flies to account for the runs.

Buffalo took back the lead in the home half of the fourth on the first of two solo home runs by Jason Dubois, but the Yankees responded with two runs in the top of the fifth. Miranda hit a bases-loaded single to score Guzman (single), and Jackson (single) scored on a sacrifice fly by Ransom to give SWB a 4-3 lead.

The Yankees increased the lead to 6-3 in the sixth on back-to-back triples by Guzman and Jackson. Guzman’s triple scored Reegie Corona (single) and Jackson’s triple scored Guzman.

The Bisons were able to get within 6-4 on a Dubois home run in the bottom of the sixth, and to 7-6 in the bottom of the seventh. The Yankees sealed the win with an RBI single by Curtis in the top of the ninth.

A day after losing several of its best relief pitchers – Mark Melancon, Edwar Ramirez and Mike Dunn – the SWB bullpen was able to close the door on the Bisons.

Jonathan Albaladejo entered the game in the sixth inning and gave up a run in one inning of work. Eric Wordekemper allowed two runs on three hits in two innings, and Kevin Whelan pitched a scoreless ninth inning for his first save. Wordekemper and Whelan were called up from Double-A Trenton on Tuesday.

LOOKING AHEAD

What: Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees vs. Buffalo Bisons

When: 1:05 p.m., today

Where: Coca-Cola Field, Buffalo, N.Y.

Probable Starters: Yankees TBA vs. Bisons RHP Jose Sanchez (0-1, 7.20)

On Deck: The Yankees continue their final road trip of the season with a 7:05 p.m. game Friday in Rochester, N.Y.

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