Villanueva Shuts Down Rochester Red Wings in 2-1 Win
Elih Villanueva was making just his second start for the Norfolk Tides Saturday night. In his first start the young right-hander took a bit of beating at the hands of the Indianapolis Indians, but this night was a different story, as Villanueva shutdown the Red Wings for 5-plus innings in a 2-1 win.
Tyler Duffey made his first start for Rochester and the Tides scored a run against him in the bottom of the first. Henry Urrutia singled to lead off the inning, but Duffey then retired the next two batters and looked like it was going to be a scoreless first. However back-to-back singles by Nolan Reimold and Steve Clevenger led to Urrutia scoring and it was 1-0 Norfolk after one inning.
Both pitchers kept their opponents off the scoreboard for the next three innings. It was shaping up to be a classic pitcher’s duel where every pitch could turn the tide of the game. In the bottom of the fifth the one pitch difference came to fruition. Derrick Gibson singled for Norfolk with one out. Two batters later Urrutia lined a ball over the center fielder’s head to the wall. Gibson came all the way around to score, and Urrutia wound up at third with the RBI triple. Duffey struck out Christian Walker but the insurance run proved to be a difference maker.
Villanueva rolled through the first five innings, and after recording the first out of the sixth his day was over. With 94 pitches thrown, the righty had reached his pitch count. Villanueva (1-1) pitched 5.1 innings, allowed 4 hits and no runs, while striking out 4.
Pat McCoy closed out the sixth and continued the Norfolk pitching staff’s dominance of the Rochester Red Wings hitters. That is until the eighth inning. In the top of the eighth Eric Farris doubled with one out. McCoy got the next out as well, but the Norfolk manager turned to Pedro Beato. Beato walked Reynaldo Rodriguez, then gave up a double to Kennys Vargas that plated Farris. Surprisingly Rodriguez was held, and when Josmil Pinto hit a fly ball to center that was caught to end the inning the Red Wings were left trailing 2-1.
Beato remained on the mound for the home team in the ninth. He retired Ortiz on a fly out, before striking out the final two batters to end the game. For Beato it was his second save of the season. Villanueva evened his record with the win.
Duffey (0-1) was the tough luck loser. In just his first start at the AAA level the right-hander pitched very well. Through 7 innings he allowed just 6 hits and 2 runs. He also struck out 6, and 62 of his 98 pitches were strikes. It was a great performance for the youngster with a disappointing result.
Tomorrow Tommy Milone (3-0, 0.00) takes to the mound for the Rochester Red Wings looking to extend his 23-inning scoreless string since joining the Twins AAA affiliate. He will face Chris Jones (1-1, 2.73). Game time is 1:05 local time.
By Robert Pannier