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Bisons trample Red Wings

ROCHESTER NY --- A rough night for the Red Wings pitching staff allowed Buffalo to score 14 runs and come away with a dominant 14-3 victory in Rochester. Buffalo left fielder Nathan Lukes went 6-6 and is the first batter to record six hits in a single game against Rochester since Blue Jays infielder/DH Justin Turner on the final day of the Triple-A season in 2010.

"It makes it cooler now that I know JT (Justin Turner)," Lukes said. "I'll probably have to shoot him a little message."

Buffalo started hot, scoring three runs in the top of the first. It was a nightmare start for Rochester's Thaddeus Ward who entered the game 1-1 with a 5.88 ERA allowing 26 hits in 26 innings pitched along with 25 K's and 17 earned runs. Ward walked Buffalo's first baseman Spencer Horwitz who generated three walks and a HBP in his first four at-bats of the game. Ward then gave up his first home run of the season to second batter of the game. Lukes took a pitch 384 feet to give the Bisons an early 2-0 lead. Ward walked right fielder Addison Barger before DH Damiand Palmegiani hit an RBI double for Buffalo's third run of the opening half-inning.

"Everyone in this lineup did their part today," Lukes said. "Rather it's blocks, moving runners over or getting hits. Hitting's contagious and when we get in that rythem, it's fun to watch."

Rochester's lead off man second baseman Darren Baker hit a single before being caught stealing for just the second time this season. Slick conditions with on and off drizzles created possible difficulties and hesitations for base runners trying to steal bags. center fielder Alex Call flew out for Rochester, hitting second. The MLB's 5th ranked prospect left fielder James Wood grounded out to close out the first inning.

James Wood during a game against the Buffalo Bisons on May 15, 2024. Photo credit: Ethan Bissinger / Rochester Red Wings

"We walked a lot guys tonight and fell behind early and it's just an uphill battle from there," Rochester's development coach and acting manager Billy McMillion said. "We need to stay in the (strike) zone a little bit more, it give us a little bit more of an opportunity to stay competitive in games."

The second inning was slower for Buffalo, only a single and walk for the Bisons as Rochester kept Buffalo off the score sheet.

Rochester's offense also had a slow second inning. DH Juan Yepez recording the lone Red Wing hit with a left field double. In the bottom of the third, Rochester responded with a solo home run hit by third baseman Erick Mejia.

Erick Mejia in the dough-out after his home run on May 15, 2024. Photo credit: Ethan Bissinger / Rochester Red Wings

The Bisons exploded offensively in the fourth inning. They scored eight runs, generated five walks, four hits and forced Rochester to use three different pitchers in the half-inning. Ward was pulled after allowing two walks, two hits and one strikeout. Reliever Luis Reyes was up next at the mound for Rochester. He wouldn't record an out in this appearance. Rochester catcher Drew Millas was called for catchers interference which loaded the bases for Reyes. Reyes then walked three straight batters and surrendered a two-RBI single to Buffalo shortstop Leo Jimenez. Stephen Nogosek relieved Reyes. Nogosek surrendered an RBI-Single before pitching into a double play to get Rochester out of the inning.

"I think it's just baseball," Gallo said. "We won the first one and this one didn't go our way and that's just kind of the name of the game. They played outstanding, you know just re-grouping and show up tomorrow ready to compete again."

Holding an 11-1 lead over Rochester, Buffalo wasn't done racking up runs. A sacrifice fly and ground rule double allowed Buffalo to pull two more runs in.

Jack Dunn fielding a force out at second base while #66 Rafael Lantigua runs for the base on May 15, 2024. Photo credit: Ethan Bissinger / Rochester Red Wings

In the bottom of the sixth, Rochester's offense put together some production. Wood chipped a grounder to Bison's starting pitcher Chad Dallas who had to back peddle over the mound to secure it. Dallas lost control of the ball while attempting a throw to first. It went down as an error on Dallas which allowed Wood to reach. First baseman Joey Gallo, who is in Rochester on a rehab assignment from the Washington Nationals took Dallas yard and crushed a 377 foot two-run shot. That homer provided the final runs for the Rochester offense in the game.

"It feels good to hit a ball out of the park, for me it's just trying to get back into the swing of things," Gallo said. "It's been great playing with these guys here and you know just trying to get back up to the big leagues and be ready to go when I get there."

A bright spot for the Red Wings defense came down the stretch. Rochester turned a double-play along with Baker and shortstop Jack Dunn making highlight reel plays defensively in the infield. Tough catches and throws to first from both infielders gave the fans in Rochester something to cheer for.

#19 Jack Dunn making a sliding catch before turning an out at first base on May 15, 2024. Photo credit: Ethan Bissinger / Rochester Red Wings

Wood recorded a double in the bottom of the seventh to extend his hitting streak to 11 games. The Red Wings finished with three runs, seven hits and one error. Buffalo racked 14 runs off 14 hits with one error. Ward suffered the loss allowing seven earned runs off six hits, five walks, one home run and just one strikeout in three and a third innings.

Dallas got credited with the win for Buffalo after pitching five and third innings allowing five hits, three earned runs, two walks and both home runs with five strikeouts.

With the series tied 1-1 these two teams will face off once again on Thursday with first pitched scheduled for 6:05 p.m. at Innovative Field.

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