Adon dazzles, Wings win second straight
By: Mike Rose
ROCHESTER, N.Y.– For the second consecutive night it was the Rochester Red Wings pitching staff that carried the load as they knocked off the Durham Bulls 5-1. The Red Wings held Durham's offense to just one run on four hits to pick up their second straight win. Red Wings Manager Matthew LeCroy highlighted his pitching staff's efforts once again tonight.
"You can't talk about this game without talking about the pitching. To take a team of this offensive caliber and only give up four hits and one run that's giving us a chance. This is a tough team, we knew it was gonna be a battle to win it tonight," LeCroy said.
Starter Joan Adon led the way with six shutout innings allowing two hits while issuing three walks and tying his season-high with six strikeouts. It was his most complete start of the season for Rochester as he tied for his fewest base runners allowed and his most innings pitched in a game this season.
"He had a good mix. He had the fastball but he was able to go the changeup when he needed a swing and miss but also the curveball. That's a good sign for Adon, I thought he was strong. I'm really happy with what I saw tonight and hopefully, he continues to trend in this direction," LeCroy said.
Rochester has held Durham's ninth-ranked offense in the International League in runs scored to 10 hits and four runs combined in the last two victories. Strong bullpens performances piggybacked off the starts from Adon and Jose Ureña, who combined to only allow one earned run in 11 innings and become the first Red Wings starters to earn wins in back-to-back wins since 5/27-5/28 when Wily Peralta and Paolo Espino. The veterans' performances followed a tough run of starting pitching performances for the Red Wings, who hadn't seen a starter finish three innings in the previous three outings prior to last night.
"You count on these guys (Ureña and Adon) to pitch five or six innings every time. Even the night before they pitch you think 'Maybe I can unleash the bullpen' because I know I'm going to have a safe bet that I'll get five or six out of the starter," LeCroy said.
Offensively, Rochester was able to piece together enough to get the victory. They racked up 10 hits, nine of which were singles, to post the five-run effort.
The scoring for Rochester began in the second when Drew Millas got the first hit of the evening. He was followed by singles from Erick Meija and then an RBI single from Jack Dunn to give the Wings a 1-0 lead.
Millas would jumpstart the efforts once again in the fourth, leading off the inning with a walk. A swinging bunt single from Erick Meija followed before two quick outs from the bottom of the order. That brought Derek Hill to the plate with two outs and he continued his torrid post-All-Star pace with an RBI single to score Millas and make it a two-run edge.
Millas, who reached base three times overall in the game, has seen his average tick up from .211 on July 1 to .244 following today's contest.
"I've been sticking to my process. My confidence level is high and that's a lot of hitting. It's super mental and a lot of it is just being confident and knowing you're going to do damage in the box. I think that's the main adjustment I've made with my swing," Millas said.
The Red Wings struck again in the sixth after Jack Dunn and Jeter Downs. both reached to set up a two-out RBI chance for Jake Alu. Alu was able to drop in a base hit and push the lead out to a four-run edge.
Durham would break through in the top half of the seventh when Tristan Gray hit his 18th home run of the season. Rochester would provide an instant answer in the bottom half.
Matt Adams would break an extended home run drought with a solo shot to extend the lead back out to four. Adams had gone homerless since June 24, a stretch of 69 plate appearances.
"I think it might be the longest drought of my career. To see it go over the fence it was good. I've been coming in early the last couple of days, putting in the work, and getting some things to click. Just getting back to feeling like myself and driving the ball like I know how to," Adams said.
Adams had a run off of 28 games from the end of 2020 into the 2021 season without a home run as his most recent homerless streak before this run.
Andres Machado would slam the door in the final 1.2 innings to pick up the save and secure the victory. The win moved Rochester (44-48) over .500 in the second half at 10-9.
"We're just a super resilient group. A lot of experienced guys and a lot of guys who are grinders and love to fight at-bats. We had a good plan, executed it and it ended up being a good win for us," Millas said.
They'll look to continue the momentum in the penultimate game of the series against Durham Saturday, July 22. Anthony Banda (0-1, 7.20) is slated to get the start for Rochester while Cooper Criswell (2-3, 5.51) is the projected starter for the Bulls. First pitch at Innovative Field is scheduled for 6:45 pm.