With just about a week until right-hander Ervin Santana is eligible to return to Major League baseball, the righty delivered his second straight solid outing for the Rochester Red Wings, this time beating the Pawtucket Red Sox 6-5. The Red Wings were in control late, but had to find off a feverish rally by the Red Sox in the ninth to preserve the win.
Pawtucket actually led in this game early, as Santana struggled through the first three frames. In the bottom of the first Rusney Castillo led off the game for the Red Sox with his third home run of the season. In the bottom of the third the home team would grab two more runs. Shane Victorino doubled to lead-off the inning, and moved to third on a ground out. Carlos Peguero followed with a deep home run over the right field fence for his fourth home run of the year.
The Red Sox had Santana on the ropes, but he was not going to cave. The veteran simply needed to get some run support to aid in his cause and in the fourth the Red Wings started to supply it to him.
James Beresford led off the frame with a single up the middle and two batters later Reynaldo Rodriguez got enough on a swing to softly drive a ball into left field to put runners on first and second with one out. Danny Ortiz was the next batter and he lined a single in left field that loaded the bases. That brought Jose Martinez to the plate, who delivered a big single straight up the box that scored Beresford and Rodriguez to make it a one-run game.
In the top of the fifth the Rochester Red Wings tied the score when Wilkin Ramirez led off the inning with his first home run of the season. The momentum was clearly going with the Red Wings, and Santana could feel it on the mound as well. From the fourth through the seventh innings, the right-hander retired the side in order in three of those innings. The only base runners he allowed came in the fifth when he gave up a single and walk, but got out of the inning with the score still tied.
Santana was going to be pulled after the seventh, so his club had to put some more runs on the board in the eighth if he was going to earn the win. They came up big for their starter.
Dailer Hinojosa retired the first two hitters of the inning, but the third out proved to be elusive. Back-to-back singles by Beresford and Eric Fryer put runners at first and second, and Reynaldo Rodriguez followed with his seventh home run of the season to give the Rochester Red Wings the 6-3 lead.
In the bottom of the eighth Logan Darnell and Mark Hamburger kept the Red Sox off the scoreboard setting up the dramatic ninth inning. A.J. Achter came in looking to close it out, but he found himself struggling right off. Achter retired the first hitter, but walked Sean Coyle and gave up a base hit to Rusney Castillo that put runners at the corners. Castillo subsequently stole second base. Quintin Berry followed with a sacrifice fly that scored Coyle and Humberto Quintero singled to drive in Castillo. That put the tying run at first base with two outs. Peguero, who had homered earlier, was the hitter looking to be the hero. Achter would keep his cool however, , getting a fly out to center field to end the game.
For Santana (2-0), he would go 7 innings, allowing 7 hits, 2 walks, and 3 earned runs. He also struck out 3. Achter earned his 12th save of the season. Hinojosa (3-1) took the loss.
Rodriguez swung the big bat for the Rochester Red Wings on this night. He finished 2-4 with 2 runs scored and 3 RBI. Martinez drove in 2, and Beresford scored 2.
by Robert Pannier