Tommy Milone Continues Dominance for Rochester Red Wings
The Tommy Milone watch is on. For those wondering when the Rochester Red Wings left-hander will return to the Minnesota Twins, it surely should not be long. Milone threw another eight innings of shutout ball on Sunday, extending his scoreless innings string to 31 before finally giving up a run in the bottom of the ninth to the Norfolk Tides. It was an absolutely amazing run to say the least.
The Rochester Red Wings staked their starter to a lead with single runs in the third, fourth and seventh innings. In the top of the third inning against Norfolk starter Chris Jones, Jose Martinez led off the frame with his second home run of the season, a towering drive over the left-center field fence that made it 1-0.
One inning later Kennys Vargas began the inning with a single, but was forced out by a Josmil Pinto ground ball that put Pinto at first. Danny Ortiz followed with a line drive single into right field that moved Pinto to third, and Martinez drove home his second run of the game with a sacrifice fly to center field to make it 2-0.
In the top of the seventh, Ortiz was the lead-off hitter and he took a Jones’ offering and went deep over the right field fence to make it 3-0. The home run was Ortiz’s seventh of the season.
While the two home runs were a huge help, the story of the game was the performance of Milone. He continued to mesmerize International League hitters, throwing strikes and making the big pitch when he needed it. In the bottom of the second was one of those examples. Milone gave up back-to-back singles to Nolan Reimold and Dariel Alvarez to lead off the inning, but then got a double-play grounder that put Reimold at third. That is where he would stay as Milone struck out Michael Almanzar to end the threat.
In the fourth he found himself in a little trouble again, after two of the first three batters of the inning singled. Milone remained poised, however, striking out Alvarez and getting Perez to hit a slow roller to second baseman James Beresford to end the inning.
The outing was especially impressive, because the Rochester Red Wings starter seemed to get stronger as the game went along. After giving up a two out single in the fifth to Paul Janish, Milone retired the next ten batters in a row.
In the ninth the streak finally came to an end. With one out Christian Walker took a Milone offering and cleared the left-center field fence with it to make it 3-1. That would be it for Milone (4-0), who finished with 8.1 innings pitched, allowing 6 hits and no walks, while striking out 8. The one run jacked his ERA up to 0.28.
A.J. Achter came in to close out the game for his sixth save. Jones (1-2) took the loss for the Norfolk Tides.
With the series concluded the Rochester Red Wings move onto Durham to take on the Bulls on Memorial Day. The starter for the Red Wings has not been named yet. Game time is 5:05.
By Robert Pannier