Late Rally Falls Short, Rochester Red Wings Fall 6-5
The Rochester Red Wings rolled into Indianapolis a few days ago as a team with a great deal of swagger. Eight wins in their previous 10 games had them feeling really good about themselves, and after taking the first game of this series they had reached the top of the North Division in the International League. The Indianapolis Indians have not been impressed however, taking the last two games of this series, this one by a score of 6-5.
The Indians took the lead in the first inning against Rochester starter Taylor Rogers (2-1), when Gorkys Hernandez led off the frame with a walk, stole second, advanced to third on a ground out by Gustavo Nunez, and scored on a ground out by Elias Diaz. That is the kind of play that Indianapolis has come to expect out of their leadoff hitter, who now has 17 runs scored and 6 stolen bases in 27 games.
In the third, Indianapolis plated three more. Hernandez led off the inning again, this time singling and moved to second when Nunez beat out a bunt. Diaz then ripped a double to the gap in rightfield to score both runners. Diaz would come around to score on two wild pitches by Rogers to make the score 4-0.
The Red Wings needed to provide some runs for their troubled starter, and in the top of the fourth they got on the scoreboard with two runs of their own. Reynaldo Rodriguez and Josmil Pinto led off with back-to-back singles that put runners at the corners. Danny Ortiz followed with a sacrifice fly that scored Rodriguez. Pinto advanced to second on the throw. One out later Jose Martinez dropped a bloop single into centerfield, scoring Pinto.
In the fifth Aaron Hicks led off with a single for the Red Wings, and two outs later scored when Pinto lined a double into the gap in centerfield to make it 4-3.
The Indianapolis Indians were in danger of letting this game get away, but they responded to the run in the top of the fifth with a run of their own in the bottom of the inning. Diaz singled to lead off the bottom frame, and Taylor then uncorked another wild pitch. Deibinson Romero singled to put runners at the corners with no one out. That would be it for Taylor.
Logan Darnell relieved and pitched quite well. He gave up a sacrifice fly, but retired the side with no further damage.
In the bottom of the eighth Indianapolis scored an insurance run, and that wound up being the difference in the game. Mel Rojas, Jr. singled and scored on a Nunez single three batters later.
John Holdzkom entered the game for the Indians in the top of the ninth looking to close out the game. He retired the first batter, then walked Hicks. Holdzkom struck out James Beresford to make it two outs, but Rodriguez drilled a line drive double into centerfield that scored Hicks and kept the game alive. Pinto walked, and Ortiz then singled into rightfield. The ball deflected away from the Indians centerfielder, scoring Rodriguez and moving Pinto to third. The inning was looking incredibly hairy, but Holdzkom remained calm. He got Brock Peterson to fly out to end the game, and the Indians won 6-5.
Rogers took the loss for the Rochester Red Wings. Adrian Sampson (2-3) got the win, and Holdzkom earned his second save.
The Red Wings knocked out 12 hits, with each of their first four hitters rapping out two a piece (Hicks, Beresford, Rodriguez, and Pinto). Ortiz had two RBI.
Indianapolis moves onto to Scranton Friday night. The Rochester Red Wings travel to Louisville for a 7:05 start Friday night. Tommy Milone will make his first start of the year for the Red Wings against Raisel Iglesias (1-1).
By Robert Pannier