By; Mike Rose
ROCHESTER, N.Y.– It was another night of missed opportunities for the Rochester Red Wings Wednesday night as they fell 9-3 to the Durham Bulls. The Red Wings let an early lead slip away on the back of leaving seven runners in scoring position in the first six innings. After failing to cash in and leaving the door open for the Bulls they stormed right through it scoring seven runs combined in the seventh and eighth innings.
"You got to tip your cap. Our approach was at the right spot at times but when they give you opportunities to score with less than two outs you gotta try and put the ball in play because each run you get when you play good teams is big. It's hard to win one-run ball games against teams with this type of offense. We just didn't execute situationally," Red Wings Manager Matthew LeCroy said.
The Red Wings came racing out of the gates as the first three batters of the day came up with hits capped off by a two-run double from Travis Blakenhorn. Blakenhorn extended his team lead in RBI with his 53rd and 54th of the season and put Rochester ahead 2-0.
In the third, it was Vidal Bruján crushing a game-tying two-run home run for the Bulls. Durham would go on to leave the bases loaded in the third as Jackson Rutledge would escape with the game still tied. The Red Wings would respond in the bottom half of the third.
Derek Hill led off with a triple before Matt Adams brought him home with an RBI single. Blake Rutherford followed with a double but the Red Wings could not bring home the two runners in scoring position leaving it a one-run edge.
That would continue a run of stranding runners in scoring position. Rochester would leave at least one runner left in scoring position every inning from the first through the sixth except for a 1-2-3 fifth inning. Rochester did well to maintain the edge with strong relief pitching led by Luis Reyes who pitched 2.1 shutout frames. However, in the seventh, the wheels fell off.
Bruján led off with a double and Curtis Mead worked a walk to set up Osleivis Basabe. He came through with a two-run triple that put Durham on top for good. Tristan Gray would drive in an additional run in the three-run seventh which saw Durham exit with a 5-3 lead. After Rochester went down in order Durham kept it rolling in the eighth.
Kameron Misner worked a leadoff walk before Bruján doubled for his third hit of the night. The reigning International League MVP, Jonathan Aranda, followed with a two-run single to extend the lead to 7-3. Curtis Mead was next up and he blasted a triple into the right-center field alley to score Aranda. An RBI groundout from Austin Shenton capped off the outburst and gave Durham a 9-3 lead.
Rochester went down without much of a fight late as the Bulls even the series up at one game apiece. LeCroy is looking forward to his team's potential bounce-back effort tomorrow.
In baseball, you play 150 games and you're going to have some tough ballgames. Hopefully, the guys can get a good night's rest and come back and be ready to go tomorrow because I know they (Durham) are. I know our guys are up for the challenge and hopefully, we can set the tone early and finish it up," LeCroy said.
With the loss the Red Wings (42-48) fall to 8-9 in the second half of the season, placing Rochester in third to last place in the International League East standings. They'll look to bounce back tomorrow morning when they face off with Durham once again at 11:05 am. Jose Ureña (0-2, 6.49) will get the start for the Wings while Evan McKendry (7-2, 3.89) will start for Durham.