Game 86: York 10, Somerset 2

The signs are all there.

Aaron Rakers never pitches out of the wind-up. He sometimes struggles to find a rhythm. And he throws with the type of stuff tailor-made for closing games in pressure-packed situations.

Yes, Rakers has been a relief pitcher for nearly 10 years. But he’s proven quite the starter for the York Revolution lately.

Rakers’ transition to the starting rotation took another big step Sunday evening at Sovereign Bank Stadium when he tied a career high with eight innings and only allowed two runs in York’s 10-2 victory over Somerset before an announced crowd of 4,962. Rakers, who had a one-game cameo in the majors just last season with San Diego, scattered nine hits and struck out five without walking a batter.

And he was the beneficiary of another offensive onslaught from the Revs (8-8, 38-48). Chris Ashby had a 3-for-5 game with five RBIs, Luis Taveras clobbered an opposite-field two-run homer and Matt Esquivel had a 2-for-4 outing with two RBIs. It all helped York salvage a four-game split with the Patriots (7-8, 47-38) after a depressing one-run loss Saturday night.

“I just wanted to avoid the big inning and let our team keep scoring runs like they have,” Rakers (pictured) said. “Keeping people off base is big and no walks really helps.”

Somerset pushed across the first run of the game on a booted double-play ball off the bat of Sean Smith in the third, but York scored multiple runs in the fourth, fifth, sixth and seventh to break the game open. Ashby, who has a team-leading 22 multi-hit games despite only signing with York on May 28, had run-scoring singles in three straight innings and every starter but Jason Aspito had a hit. The win also helped York climb into second place in the Freedom Division, a game back of Lancaster.

“We could’ve easily taken three (in this series) and I thought we competed well against them,” Revolution manager Chris Hoiles said. “I’m very happy with the result.”

Hoiles has also been pleased with his dynamic lineup of late. York has homered in a season-best seven straight games, has double-digit hits in 11 of the last 12 and has hit .323 as a team in the last 35 games. Not too shabby. And the Revs finished Sunday’s game in three hours flat — the shortest game York has played in more than two weeks.

“Where do you start?” a grinning Hoiles said of the length of York’s recent games. “They’ve been tremendously long. Obviously, there’s been some high runs in the last week. I really have no explanation for it.”

Notes: Keoni De Renne left the game after tweaking his quad. He said the injury shouldn’t be too serious. … Shea Hillenbrand’s hitting streak now stands at 19 games. He’s had one hit in six of his last seven games to keep the streak alive. … Hoiles said the Revs are considering using newly acquired reliever Juan Padilla as a starter. Padilla fired a scoreless ninth inning Sunday.

*John Pavoncello photo.

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