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Blakenhorn's blast walks off Worcester

By: Mike Rose

Travis Blakenhorn embraced by his teammates after the Red Wings' eighth walk off win of the season. (Photo: Rochester Red Wings/Ethan Bissinger)

ROCHESTER, N.Y.– On a night when it appeared the Rochester Red Wings were headed to a fifth consecutive loss, ninth-inning heroics flipped the script. Travis Blakenhorn's two-run home run capped off a seven-run ninth to defeat the Worcester Red Sox 8-7 in walk-off fashion.

"I can't say enough about how they fight. We had a tough week in Buffalo, to say the least. Our offense came out sluggish and all of a sudden they locked in at the end. Their bats came alive at the right time and I'm just really happy for all of them," Red Wings Manager Matthew LeCroy said.

The game began with Worcester firmly in control. Roddery Munoz, who got the start on the mound, worked a scoreless first before finding trouble in the second. After issuing back-to-back walks to start the season he recorded a strikeout of Ronaldo Hernandez. Niko Kavadas broke through with an RBI single before Munoz struck out Bradley Zimmer looking. However, Munoz could not escape the frame. David Hamilton blasted a three-run home run to make it a 4-0 game.

Munoz was eventually chased in the second after an RBI single from Bobby Dalbec made it 5-0. Luis Reyes mercifully escaped without any further damage. From there it was the Rochester bullpen who kept the game within reach.

Reyes rattled off 2.1 shutout innings allowing no hits with four strikeouts. On the other side, a two-out double from Drew Millas got the Red Wings on the board to cut the margin down to four. Worcester pushed it back to five in the sixth after Ceddanne Rafaela singled, advanced to third on a two-base throwing error, and scored on a groundout. Rafaela's speed helped produce another run in the ninth to seemingly put the game out of reach, then the fireworks began.

Drew Millas led off the ninth with a base hit off Justin Garza which was followed by singles from Matt Adams and Jack Dunn. Richie Martin then stepped to the plate and launched just his second home run of the season, a three-run blast, that cut the margin to 7-5. Darren Baker would then drop a single into left and advance to second on a misplay from Zimmer. Cam Booser would replace Garza after a groundout from Jacob Young and he quickly retired Luis Garcia on an RBI groundout leaving the score 7-6.

Jake Noll was next up and delivered on his final strike with a double down the left-field line. That brought the man who has been Rochester's best hitter all season long, Blakenhorn, to the plate and he sent the first pitch he saw off the right field foul pole to win it.

Blakenhorn's walk off home run was his second this season for Rochester. (Photo: Rochester Red Wings/Ethan Bissinger)

"Big Blank came up big again. He got a pitch he could handle after having a tough night and he (Booser) threw it right in his honey hole," LeCroy said.

It was Blakenhorn's second walk-off home run of the season and 22nd of the season overall. The seven runs by Rochester in the ninth were the most runs by a Red Wings team in the ninth inning since at least 2005. With the win the Rochester losing streak ended at four and LeCroy hopes it can breathe some life into his team as they head down the stretch.

"You take one day at a time and you hope with these things you can stack wins. These guys fight like crazy as a group and you never know, I've seen crazy things happen in baseball. I know our hole is a little bit deeper but if we can get hot and get some wins and roll out some big winning streaks you never know but I like the start tonight that was a big win for us," LeCroy said.

The win moves Rochester (55-63) to 21-24 in the second half. They sit seven games back of first-place Lehigh Valley with 29 games to play. They'll look to ride the wave of momentum into game two of the series against Worcester (27-18, 66-44). Alemao Hernandez (0-1, 18.00) is projected to make his second Triple-A start for Rochester while Kyle Barraclough (8-0, 2.40) is slated to get the start for Worcester Red Sox.

The Red Wings snapped a four-game losing streak with the ninth inning rally Tuesday. (Photo: Rochester Red Wings/Ethan Bissinger)

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