Rivera's blast finishes what Pettitte started
With one out, that’s exactly what the Thunder’s designated hitter got from Magnuson and – just like Wednesday – he turned it into a no-doubt home run. The shot turned Trenton into 1-0 winners and gave them a powerful two-game edge to take with them on the road in the Eastern League Division Series.
“I’m looking for a pitch out over the plate that I can drive,” Rivera said. “I got lucky both times – yesterday and today – that I saw a pitch that I can handle.”
Before Rivera’s heroics, however, the Thunder were beneficiaries of a blown call from first-base umpire Chris Hamner.
With Adam Calderone on third and two out, Fisher Cats leadoff man Darin Mastroianni squibbed one toward second that Matt Cusick fielded and fired to first. Photos showed that Cusick’s throw was about 6 feet from when Mastroianni hit the bag, but Hamner still wound up and banged him out.
Mastroianni and manager Luis Rivera protested to no avail, and Rivera got tossed in the process. Still, to the team’s credit, the Fisher Cats did not solely blame Hamner for their loss.
“We’ll come out tomorrow and play our game,” third baseman Shawn Bowman said. “I know the umpire blew a call tonight, but we also didn’t score any runs.” “We’re not out of it. It could be one big hit from anyone in the order that will change things around.”
Before the fireworks in the final inning, both teams engaged in the most epic pitchers’ duel at Waterfront Park this season.
On the Thunder’s side, there was Andy Pettitte – their ace-in-the-hole for four innings – and Adam Warren, their ace for the last two months.
In his four innings, Pettitte faced one more than the minimum and struck out four before giving way to Warren, who made the five-time World Series champion look like a side dish, rather than the main course.
Warren fanned 10 in his six innings, including the first extra frame, and looked icy cool even in relief.
“I had to lock in mentally and try to keep everything the same,” Warren said. “My body was kind of funny in the bullpen, and I didn’t throw as loose as usual because I didn’t have a chance to run around as much. Once I got into the game and got a little adrenaline going, it was all the same.”
Austin Romine, who had the pleasure of catching both men, wanted to no credit afterward for his game-calling skills. He instead deferred to Pettitte and Warren for blanking the Fisher Cats’ powerful offense.
“I don’t want any of (the credit),” he said. “I didn’t do anything. I suggest pitches and they throw it. They did their job.”
NOTES: Two of Warren’s strikeouts came on foul bunts. … The 8,072 fans in attendance represented a season high for the Thunder, a night after they registered their season low. … Josh Schmidt once again drew a Hall of Fame closer’s entrance music. He got Mariano Rivera’s “Enter Sandman” on Wednesday, and last night was treated to AC DC’s “Hells Bells,” the song that plays when Brewers closer Trevor Hoffman enters.