Scrappers’ bats fall short in loss to Yankees

NILES – Taylor Murphy and the Mahoning Valley Scrappers saw just how ruthless the game of baseball can be.

On Sunday, Murphy reached base three times – including his sixth double of the season – but his teammates couldn’t find the same steadiness at the plate.

The Scrappers fell, 8-0, to the Staten Island Yankees. Mahoning Valley didn’t have a hit until a sixth-inning double by Leo Castillo, but finished with six. It came a night after the Scrappers totaled 13 hits in an 11-6 win over the Yankees.

The teams meet for the series rubber match tonight at Eastwood Field.

“We ignited for a ton of runs on Saturday and it just wasn’t there for us this time,” Murphy said. “That’s baseball. You get shot down a bit some games and really connect on other days.”

Murphy, a Solano Beach, Calif. native, is now batting .269 with a .764 on-base plus slugging percentage. He’s drawn 20 walks and has collected 50 total bases in his first season of professional ball.

“I was sticking to the approach, trying to hit the ball hard and using the middle of the field,” Murphy said. “I felt good at the plate.”

And Yankees starting pitcher David Palladino felt good on the mound.

He struck out two, but walked three while cruising through 5 2/3 innings of hitless ball. Castillo’s double came with two outs in the sixth.

“I have the attitude that I never want to come out, that’s how all starters are,” Palladino said. “But it’s what’s best for the team. I do feel good when I’m in a groove, though, and I felt good out there today.”

The 6-foot-8 Palladino is now 5-4 on the year, after earning the win on Sunday, and has a 4.01 ERA with 50 strikeouts. He also is one of 29 players on the Yankees roster that stand over 6-feet. Every pitcher does, also, and there’s just three position players who are 5-foot-11 or shorter.

Staten Island reliever Rony Bautista earned a hold after allowing three hits over two innings in relief. He stands a monstrous 6-foot-9.

“I guess we can be intimidating,” Palladino said with a laugh.

Greg Allen, Francisco Mejia and Yonathan Mendoza had the Scrappers’ other hits. Allen and Mejia will join Murphy and pitcher Sean Brady as the Scrappers selection to the New York-Penn League All-Star Game in Brooklyn on Aug. 19.

“Obviously it’s an honor,” Murphy said. “I’m humbled. I’m really looking forward to playing some ball in a new environment with the best of the best in this league.

“It’s going to be fun. We haven’t played in Brooklyn yet so I’m excited to play there and see what it’s like. I’m sure it will be even more special for an All-Star atmosphere.”

Mahoning Valley, now 24-32, stranded 10 runners on base, while the Yankees (27-29) left seven. Scrappers starter Nick Maronde, who appeared as a reliever with the Los Angeles Angels earlier this season, went three innings, walking one and striking out two. He didn’t allow a hit, but was replaced with Jordan Carter in the fourth inning.

Carter took the loss after giving up two runs on five hits.