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Red Wings held scoreless

By: Liam Hoffmann

ROCHESTER, NY-- Lackluster batting was too much to overcome for the Rochester Red Wings Wednesday night in their 5-0 shutout loss to the St. Paul Saints. This was just the third shutout suffered by Rochester all year but second at the hands of St. Paul. No Red Wing got beyond first base until the bottom of the seventh inning much due to a four-strikeout, scoreless start from Saints pitcher Adam Plutko.

Yunior Severino in the cleanup spot batted in four of the game's five runs for St. Paul. Three runs came from a first-inning homer. After a rocky first, Rochester starter Spenser Watkins managed four scoreless innings before Alex Isola homered on the first pitch of the sixth. Watkins' day ended with six innings pitched, four earned runs allowed, a pair of walks and four strikeouts.

Spenser Watkins pitching on May 29 2024. Photo Credit: Joe Territo / Rochester Red Wings

Drew Millas had two of the Wings' five hits and nearly stole a base. In the fourth inning, Juan Yepez was called for batter's interference while Millas attempted to steal second which got him out. Yepez and Travis Blankenhorn had the two Rochester extra-base hits of the night, both doubles. Every member of the Red Wings' lineup outside of Millas had one strikeout in the contest.

"You've got to tip a cap to their pitching staff," Red Wings manager Matt LeCroy said. "Anytime you throw a shutout you've got to give them a lot of credit."

"We barreled some balls early but that was just about it," LeCroy said. "They don't walk people usually, they make you swing it, we kind of went outside the zone at times or took balls that we should have hit."

The Red Wings' best scoring chance was in the bottom of the seventh. Millas led off with a single but got put out by a fielder's choice during Blankenhorn's ensuing at-bat. Next, Yepez doubled and placed two runners in scoring position. But, back-to-back strikeouts of Trey Lipscomb and Alex Call killed the scoring chance.

To begin the game, Michael Helman's single and Matt Walner's walk in the top of the first left them on base for Severino's three-run slam. In the second, Anthony Prato got in scoring position for St. Paul after Travis Blankenhorn lost the ball in the sun in right field and it eventually bounced out of play for a ground rule double. The two outs earlier in the inning helped Rochester escape safely. Lipscomb's single in the bottom half made him Rochester's first baserunner of the day.

Watkins retired six straight hitters from the second to fourth inning but eventually St. Paul got on base once more with Patrick Winkel's single. A proceeding two-base error by third basemen Carter Kieboom put two Saints in scoring position. However, leadoff Austin Martin hit a ball to shallow centerfield that after a long run, was caught by Alex Call for out three.

Alex Call settling under a ball on May 29 2024. Photo Credit: Joe Territo / Rochester Red Wings

In the bottom of the fourth, Millas got his first single and second Rochester hit. He got out via the aforementioned interference by Yepez.

"It lengthens your lineup when you can have Drew in that two-hole," LeCroy said. "[James Wood] is not gonna be here for a little bit, some guys got to pick it up. We talked about putting Drew in the two-hole and he's responded since we put it in there."

The two sides have an early start tomorrow with first pitch scheduled for 11:05 a.m. DJ Herz (2-2, 4.11) is probable to take the mound for the Wings while the Saints are expected to have a bullpen day with no probable starter yet known.

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