MOOSIC – A few days ago, Casey Fossum was sitting around the house, waiting to hear where he would be playing professional baseball.
Five days after being designated for assignment by the New York Mets, Fossum was pitching in the New York Yankees organization, helping lead Scranton/Wilkes-Barre to a 5-1 win against Norfolk on Saturday at PNC Field. The Yankees improved their International League-best record to 18-4.
“I really didn’t do much in the way of baseball activities (this week),” said Fossum, who finished with a no-decision. “I was kind of sitting around waiting to answer the phone to see where I was going. I got here last night and threw for the first time since Sunday.”
The 31-year-old left-hander allowed two hits and one run in 3.2 innings. He struck out four and walked two in throwing 75 pitches, his limit for the game.
Fossum signed with the Yankees after being designated for assignment by the Mets on Monday. This season, he started two games for last-place Buffalo, posting an impressive 0.82 ERA. He also pitched three games out of the bullpen for the Mets, allowing just one earned run.
Fossum cruised through the first two innings before fighting his way through a 27-pitch third inning.
He gave up a one-out single to Carlos Rojas and a double to Justin Christian to put runners on second and third. Fossum struck out Scott Moore on a wild pitch that allowed Rojas to score. He also gave up a two-out walk but got out of the inning without surrendering another run.
“Overall I made some pitches when I had to,” said Fossum. “I got in a situation in the third inning, but I got out of it with pretty good damage control. I felt good and it’s good to win. This seems like a fun team.”
Austin Jackson hit a single, went to second on a single by Eric Duncan, moved to third on a sacrifice bunt by P.J. Pilittere and scored on a fielder’s choice by Luis Nunez to give the Yankees a 1-0 run in the second.
The Yankees scored four runs in the fourth inning to take a 5-1 lead, but it could have been worse for the Tides. The Yankees reeled off five consecutive hits and eight consecutive batters reached base.
One of the biggest plays of the game took place in the inning with the score tied at 1-1 and Pilittere on first. SWB manager Dave Miley called for a hit-and-run and Nunez followed with a high-chopper over the head of Moore at third base.
“I thought one of the keys was the hit and run that Nunez got,” said Miley. “We got a lucky bounce, obviously, but he did what he needed to do with it. It opened up a little bit of a big inning for us.”
The Yankees went on to score four runs on RBI hits by Doug Bernier, John Rodriguez and Todd Linden, and a bases-loaded walk from Chris Malec.
Linden finished with three hits in four at-bats to extend his hitting streak to 17 games.
“Streaks are fun, but they really don’t mean that much,” he said. “Over the course of three games I’d rather have five hits than go 1-for-4 three times. It’s about helping the team win more than anything else.”
Pilittere also continued his hot hitting with a key single and sacrifice bunt.
“I feel real comfortable and confident at the plate,” said the catcher. “It’s kind of crazy how this game is. You can be really confident for four games and then it’s like, ‘what happened, where did it go.’”
Game notes: Fossum had a better outcome Sunday than he did during his last appearance at then-Lackawanna County Stadium. Pitching for Pawtucket against the Red Barons in August 2003, Fossum lasted just one batter after being hit in the leg with a line drive…Norfolk’s Oscar Salazar had two hits to extend his IL-leading hitting streak to 18 games.