Timely Hitting Leads Rochester Red Wings to Victory
The Rochester Red Wings were trailing 2-0 entering the bottom of the second inning. Then they scored eight of the next nine runs on their way to an 8-4 win that gave the club a 7-3 record over their last ten games. Taking three of four from the Columbus Clippers moved the Red Wings to 12-8 on the season, and are now just a game back in the North Division of the International League pending tonight’s finals.
Right-hander Mark Hamburger started for the Rochester Red Wings. He had struggled in his first three starts, allowing 12 runs in 13.2 innings pitched, and it did not look like he was going to have a particularly good outing on this day either. The right-hander allowed an RBI double in the first, and a two-out triple in the second that staked Columbus to the two-run lead.
In the bottom of the second his club evened the score. Eric Fryer and James Beresford opened the inning with back-to-back singles, and one out later Argenis Diaz singled to score Fryer. Aaron Hicks then grounded into a force that score Beresford and the game was tied.
Hamburger returned to the mound in the third, but gave back the lead to the Clippers. Columbus played small ball in the inning. Tyler Holt walked and moved to second on a ground ball out. Zack Walters followed with a single scoring Holt, and rather quickly the visitors were back ahead 3-2.
The Rochester offense responded right away, using their own version of small ball. Eddie Rosario singled to lead off the frame, and moved to second and then to third on ground outs. At third with two outs Fryer came up clutch with a line drive into leftfield that scored Rosario, tying the game again.
The Red Wings starter had struggled early in the game, but he got into a groove starting in the fourth. The righty allowed a single in the fourth and two walks in the sixth, but he held the Clippers off the scoreboard. In the sixth he even struck out the side, including the final two hitters of the inning with two runners on. Hamburger (1-1) was removed in the top of the seventh after going six innings, allowing five hits, three walks, and two earned runs, while striking out six. It was easily his best start of the season, and buoys the hopes of the Minnesota Twins organization that this is just a taste of the things to come.
While Hamburger was catching fire, the Columbus pitching staff was finding it hard to keep the Red Wings off the scoreboard. Clippers starter Jordan Cooper began the bottom of the fourth inning, retiring the first two batters, but following back-to-back singles by Hicks and Eric Farris, his day was over.
Kyle Crockett took over, and immediately gave up a line drive single to Rosario to give the Red Wings their first lead of the game. Reynaldo Rodriguez would draw the walk before Crockett finally recorded the third out.
He returned to the mound in the fifth, and it wasn’t long before his day was over as well. With one out Beresford doubled and Nate Hanson walked. That was it for the Clippers reliever.
Right-hander C.C. Lee entered the game and was roughed up by the Rochester lineup. Diaz singled to score Beresford, and one out later Farris singled scoring Hanson. Rosario then poked a single into left sending Diaz home and Rodriguez closed out the scoring with a double to rightfield that brought home Farris. Rosario was looking to extend the lead, but a perfect relay of Carlos Moncrief to Francisco Lindor to Adam Moore made Rosario realize he was not going to make it safely. He tried to return back to third, but Moore’s quick throw to Rohlinger nabbed Rosario to end the inning.
Up 8-3, the Rochester Red Wings put it into cruise control. Lester Oliveros allowed an eighth inning RBI single by Jesus Aguilar that made the score 8-4, but that is as close as the Columbus Clippers would get. Ryan O’Rourke closed out the game with a perfect ninth inning. Cooper (0-1) took the loss for Columbus.
The Rochester offense was incredibly formidable on this day, rapping out 17 hits. Every player but one had at least one hit, and Hicks and Rosario delivered three each. The hitting outburst continues the early season onslaught by the Red Wings. They lead the International League in batting (.281) and are second in runs scored (95).
With runners in scoring position is where the club has continued to excel. Rochester was 7-18 on the day in such circumstances. This has allowed them to continue to keep innings alive, especially with two-outs.
On Friday Columbus travels to Syracuse to take on the Chiefs. Bruce Chen (2-1) takes on Bruce Billings (0-2). The Rochester Red Wings welcome Norfolk. Mike Wright (2-0) takes the hill for the visitors. The Red Wings have not named their starter yet.
By Robert Pannier