Rochester Red Wings Bats Come Alive in 11-7 Win
It took 14 innings on the previous day for the Syracuse Chiefs and the Rochester Red Wings to score three total runs. Wednesday afternoon the Chiefs were able to accomplish this in one half of an inning. Syracuse jumped out to an early lead, only to watch the Red Wings storm back to win 11-7 in their International League tilt.
The Chiefs’ bats come out smoking against Rochester starter Jason Wheeler. Michael Taylor led off the home half of the first with a single, but Wheeler retired the next two batters, and looked like he would escape from the inning unscathed. Then the bottom dropped out. Mark Minicozzi singled, and Ian Stewart followed with a triple into the right field corner that scored both Taylor and Minicozzi. Jason Martinson followed with his second home run of the season to make it 4-0. It was also Martinson’s second home run of the series.
In the bottom of the second Wheeler again was able to retire two batters before Syracuse was able to score. Taylor came to the plate and took an offering from the Rochester starter over the left-centerfield wall to make it 5-0. This game looked like it was going to get out of hand quickly, especially if the Red Wings could not generate some offense.
The offense began to make its presence known in the top half of the third when Aaron Hicks led off with a double. He moved to third on a flyball by Eddie Rosario, and scored on a groundout by Josmil Pinto.
The five-run lead would be restored in the bottom of the third when, with one out, Stewart lined a shot over the rightfield fence for his second home run of the year. The Chiefs’ first baseman had been struggling early on, but the two extra-base hits in the first three innings of the game were a good sign for Syracuse.
The Red Wings entered the fourth inning trailing 6-1 but, amazingly, they would leave with the score tied. Reynaldo Rodriguez led off with a single and advanced to second when Danny Ortiz walked. Jose Martinez then forced Ortiz at second on a fine play by Martinson at third, to make it first and third and one out. James Beresford then grounded a hot shot to Stewart at first, who made a split second decision to come home on the play. Catcher Dan Butler tagged out Rodriguez, and it was looking like the rally was going to be squashed out with extreme prejudice.
There were still runners at first and second, but with two outs now. Doug Bernier lined a single to leftfield to score Martinez and make it 5-2. That brought Hicks to the plate again and, for the second time in the game, he lined a double, this time to right field to score Beresford and Bernier, making it 6-4. With Hicks at third, Rosario came to the plate and hammered a Tyler Hill offering over the rightfield wall for his second home run of the year. In just four batters the Red Wings had turned a 6-1 deficit into a 6-6 tie. That would be all for Hill.
In top of the fifth Rochester took their first lead of the game. Rodriguez reached on an error to lead off the inning, and two outs later Beresford lined a single to put runners at first and third. Bernier delivered another big hit, a single scoring Rodriguez and making it 7-6.
Wheeler returned to the mound to start the fifth, but after retiring the first batter of the inning he gave up a hit and a walk and his day was over. Right-hander Stephen Pryor relieved and struck out Stewart. He then threw back-to-back wild pitches that scored Emmanuel Burriss to tie the score again. Pryor would strike out the final batter of the inning to end the threat and keep his team in front.
With the game tied heading into the top of the sixth, the Red Wings would take the lead for good. Rosario led off with a double and scored on a single by Pinto. One out later Rodriguez doubled, moving Pinto to third. Manny Delcarmen took over the pitching duties for Syracuse, but he was not able to stop the bleeding. Ortiz grounded out, scoring Pinto and moving Rodriguez to third. Martinez then drove a hard single up the middle to score Rodriguez and increase the lead to 10-7. Following a Martinez stolen base, Beresford walked. Bernier then delivered another bit hit, rippeing a line drive single to center to plate Martinez. The four runs were an insurmountable lead for the Syracuse Chiefs to overcome.
From there it was the bullpen’s time to deliver, and that is just what they did. Pryor issued a one-out walk in the sixth, but kept the Chiefs off the scoreboard. Logan Darnell, A.J. Achter and Ryan Pressly each pitched perfect innings to close out the game. Pressly struck out the final two batters of the game, ending it 11-7. Pryor (1-0) was the winner, and Sam Runion (0-1) took the loss.
The Rochester Red Wings batters rapped out 16 hits on the day. Every player in their starting lineup but one had at least two hits, with Hicks and Bernier each recording three. Bernier led the team with three RBI, and four players scored at least two runs. The 16 hits were quite impressive, but it was the 7-17 with runners in scoring position that was the difference maker in the game. That kept innings alive, and was the key to the club’s comeback.
Following their five-game losing streak, the Rochester Red Wings have now won two in a row. They will have a chance to extend the streak tomorrow when they face-off against Syracuse to close out the four-game series. Game time is 1:05 EST.
By Robert Pannier