9th Inning Rally Gives Rochester Red Wings 5-4 Win
When the 2015 International League season ends, the Rochester Red Wings will look back on their successful season and think of those dramatic moments that turned a good season into a great one. It is likely that Friday night’s dramatic 5-4 victory over the Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs will be one of those moments. A three-run rally in the ninth inning, capped off by a walk-off single by James Beresford, turned a sure loss into a victory, and moved the club back within a game of first place in the North Division.
For the first half of Friday night’s game, the Rochester Red Wings clung to a 1-0 lead. Severino Gonzalez started for Lehigh Valley, and he pitched quite well. His only mistake came to the very first batter he faced, when Red Wings center fielder Eric Farris led off the game with his first home run of the year.
The score remained that way as both Gonzalez and Rochester starter Jason Wheeler battled for the first five innings of the game. Wheeler allowed just two singles through the first five innings, and wiped one of those batters off the base paths with a nifty pick-off move that nabbed Tyler Hensen.
Following the Farris home run, Gonzalez retired the next nine batters he faced. He found himself in a little trouble in the fourth when he gave up a lead-off double to Beresford and walked Josmil Pinto one batter later. However, he induced Danny Ortiz to hit into a double-play to end the threat. The Iron Pigs starter gave up two singles in the fifth, but Rochester could not capitalize. He retired the side in order in the sixth, leaving him with 4 hits and 1 walk allowed in 6 innings pitched. He allowed just the one run while striking out 4.
Gonzalez looked like he was going to earn the victory on this night, as his team staked him to a 4-1 lead before his departure. Hensen made up for being picked off earlier by leading off the sixth inning with a double. Logan Moore followed with a single to put runners at the corners with no one out. Chase d’Arnaud’s fly ball to right field scored Hensen to tie the game, and Hensen moved to second on a wild pitch to put a runner in scoring position with just one out. One out later Domonic Brown lined a double into right field, scoring Moore and giving the Iron Pigs their first lead of the day. A single by Russ Canzler scored Brown, and Brain Bogusevic followed with a single scoring Canzler and chasing Wheeler.
The left-hander had dominated for much of the game, but simply ran out of gas. He finished the night allowing 8 hits and 4 runs, while striking out 2 in 5.2 innings pitched. Ryan O’Rourke finished the sixth inning to keep the score 4-1.
In the seventh inning the Rochester Red Wings got a run back. Tyler Knigge took over for Gonzalez and was greeted with a line drive double into left field by Ortiz. Eric Fryer walked, but then Knigge got Brock Peterson to fly out and struck out Jose Martinez, and it looked like the inning would end without a blemish. Knigge could not close the deal, however. He walked Argenis Diaz, and Farris then grounded a ball to the Lehigh Valley third baseman, Cord Phelps. Phelps made a nice play to stop the ball, but did not have a play and Ortiz scored. The inning ended, but the Red Wings were within two.
That set-up the dramatic ninth inning. Colton Murray came on in relief. He walked Peterson, and after throwing a wild pitch gave up a single to Martinez to put runners at first and third with no one out. Diaz then walked again to load the bases and that would be it for Murray.
Seth Rosin took over, and Farris greeted him with a single that moved everyone up 90-feet. That made Farris 3-5 on the night with a run scored and three RBI. Beresford then stepped to the plate. Rosin’s first pitch to the Rochester second baseman was a ball. Beresford dug in and, on the next pitch, ripped a line drive over the head of the Iron Pigs’ left fielder. Both Martinez and Diaz came into score, and the Rochester Red Wings had the walk-off win, 5-4.
Lester Oliveros (2-0) earned the victory with two shutout innings of relief. Murray (1-2) took the loss, while Rosin was credited with the blown save, his first.
These two teams square off again Saturday night. Joely Rodriguez (0-3, 6.25) heads to the mound for Lehigh Valley, while Rochester Red Wings ace Pat Dean (3-2, 1.93) gets the start for the home team. Game time is 7:05 local time.
By Robert Pannier