IronPigs clip Red Wings in slugfest
By: Mike Rose
ROCHESTER, N.Y.– One night after an epic come-from-behind victory the Rochester Red Wings were met with a deficit they could not overcome, falling to the Lehigh Valley IronPigs 14-13. The Red Wings once again found themselves in a big hole early on after the IronPigs posted seven runs in the first inning. Red Wings Manager Matthew LeCroy took a positive outlook on the way things ultimately shook out.
"I gotta give credit to the players. That was a big hole they had to try and dig out of and they kept at it. It's hard to complain about coming back and bringing the tying run to the plate when you're down that much. We didn't come out on the winning side of it but I'll take that because it can carry over to something good," LeCroy said.
It was truly a nightmare start for the Red Wings in this one. Alex Troop made just his second start as a Red Wing and served up a home run to the first batter he saw. The hit would keep coming as the first seven hitters of the game for Lehigh Valley reached safely, six via hits. That would end Troop's night as Hobie Harris would come in to relive the lefty who exited without recording an out.
In the bottom half of the first, the Rochester offense immediately responded. The first five hitters to the plate reached safely for the Red Wings with the big blows coming from Travis Blakenhorn and Drew Millas who each plated a pair of runs. With that, it was a 7-4 after one.
Lehigh Valley would not relent as they scored twice more in the second and tacked on four more in the third with three coming on a home run from Darick Hall. Rochester would answer once again with four in the bottom half of the third with Blankenhorn, Millas, Cody Wilson, and Richie Martin each driving in a run to make it 13-8.
From there the game settled down a bit. Neither team would score again until Lehigh Valley tacked one on the sixth to make it 14-8.
Rochester would then try to surge back late for the second consecutive night. Jack Dunn crushed a three-run home run in the eighth to put the game within striking distance and save LeCroy from potentially sending outfielder Paul Witt into the game for mop-up pitching duty. Instead closer Gerson Moreno finished off the final two innings to give the Red Wings one last chance in the ninth.
The first two batters for Rochester were retired quickly in the final frame before Carter Kieboom worked a walk. Travis Blaknehorn provided one last show of fireworks on the night with a two-run blast before Drew Millas flew out to leave Rochester just short of a second stunning comeback.
Due to roster moves related to the Red Wings pitching staff in recent weeks, the team has been left shorthanded and in turn faced early deficits often in recent games, including both games of the current series with Lehigh Valley. However, the offense has done its part to keep Rochester in games.
"The things we implemented early in the season, taking walks, getting your pitch to hit and selling out for it, they're starting to get more comfortable with it. They're all starting to buy into it and it's good to see. Late in the season, people get tired, sometimes your arms get a little broken down and you have to outscore people and our offense right now has been picking our pitching staff up," LeCroy.
Blakenhorn, who drove in five runs on the night, was also focused on the potential positives of the game for his team.
"We lost but honestly it was a positive day game for us, especially our offense. I think some guys had some good days so going into tomorrow they're going to be feeling pretty good at the plate," Blakenhorn said.
Rochester (18-17, 53-55) will likely need the offense to carry the load once again tomorrow as they look for a bounce-back effort. Roddery Munoz (0-1, 4.66) who has primarily worked as a reliever this season, is set to make his seventh start of the season, and just his third as a Red Wing. Amos Willingham should rejoin a taxed bullpen group for Rochester as well and will likely be called upon for a multiple-inning effort Thursday. On the other side, Drew Hutchinson (4-4, 5.33) is projected to make the start for Lehigh Valley (21-13, 57-50). First pitch at Innovative Field is scheduled for 6:45 p.m.