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Red Wings' offense stalls in loss

By: Liam Hoffmann

ROCHESTER, NY-- The Rochester Red Wings' three-game winning streak snapped Sunday afternoon in the last game of their series versus the St. Paul Saints. Despite the loss, Rochester won the series 4-3 after the teams played a doubleheader Tuesday that made up a contest that was postponed on April 28. St. Paul had 12 hits while the Red Wings only had four and hit 0-11 with runners in scoring position.

Joan Adon pitching on June 2 2024. Photo Credit: Ethan Bissinger / Rochester Red Wings

Randy Dobnak excelled as the starter for St. Paul. He pitched six innings and allowed one earned run with three hits. After the first inning, he shut Rochester down. He held batters to 0-9 and a walk with runners in scoring position. The rest of the pitching staff held their own, allowing no runs and recording four strikeouts.

"[Dobnak] settled in and then we didn't take the same approach as we did in the first inning," Red Wings manager Matt LeCroy said. "We let him get comfortable and we started swinging early, got away from what we were doing really well."

Joan Adon started for the Wings and with the loss fell to 3-4 on the year. In 4.2 innings, he allowed six hits, three earned runs (five total) with four strikeouts. T.J. Zeuch later entered at the top of the seventh and allowed three earned runs including a home run in 1.2 innings on the mound.

Offensively for Rochester, Darren Baker led the way with a run, two walks and three stolen bases. Juan Yepez had Rochester's lone RBI. Jackson Cluff walked twice, extending his on base streak to nine games. This is every game since returning to Rochester from a stint with the Harrisburg Senators, the Washington Nationals' Double A-Affiliate. Cluff stole a base as well. Travis Blankenhorn had a double and a walk.

"When you're down, a lot of people don't like to run," LeCroy said. "But when you're down multiple runs, to me you've gotta find ways to get in scoring position to get back in it."

Darren Baker sliding in on a steal attempt on June 2 2024. Photo Credit: Ethan Bissinger / Rochester Red Wings

A disastrous fourth inning set the Red Wings behind 4-1, a lead that proved insurmountable. The Saints' offense came to life in the half inning with the help of Adon hitting the first two batters he faced. Alex Isola drove in both runners with a double then Yoyner Fajardo reached base by way of Red Wings shortstop Jack Dunn's error. Nine-holer Diego A. Castillo hit a two-out two-RBI single and brought in the other two runs for St. Paul.

"You don't want to give away free passes, free outs," LeCroy said. "It doesn't matter if your team's good or not, usually it'll come back to haunt you."

They continued that momentum into the fifth as Tony Kemp led it off with a single. Adon balked while Kemp attempted to steal second, granting Kemp the base automatically. He was eventually driven in via Severino's single.

In the seventh, Royce Lewis led off with a walk then Matt Walner hit his fourth home run of the series, scoring two. They added another run in the eighth, Kemp reached on a fielder's choice then Walner punched in on his third RBI with a double that scored Kemp.

Early, both teams' leadoff hitters reached base but only Rochester's offense capitalized on more than that in the first inning. They stole three bases and scored a run as St. Paul starter Randy Dobank struggled with command in the first frame. Baker Leadoff and walked, then stole second with Cluff up to bat. Cluff also walked then the Wings pulled off a double steal to put both runners in scoring position. Yepez scored Baker with a groundout and put the Wings ahead in the first, 1-0.

Brady Lindsly was the Wings' starting catcher Sunday afternoon after starting Saturday evening. The heavy usage was necessary because the Washington Nationals recalled catcher Drew Millas Sunday morning. The corresponding move was that catcher Riley Adams was optioned to Rochester just hours prior to the game. Lindsly had the Wings' first hit with his second-inning double.

Brady Lindsly at the plate on June 2 2024. Photo Credit: Ethan Bissinger / Rochester Red Wings

The Red Wings threatened to strike back in the bottom half of the fifth, Darren Baker found third base but no batter could drive him in. In the sixth inning, Travis Blankenhorn also got in scoring position, but Rochester batters would go 0-3 with him on second.

Monday is an off day for the Red Wings but Tuesday they'll be visiting the Worcester Red Sox with first pitch set for 6:45 p.m. Spenser Watkins (1-2, 5.03) is expected to start on the mound for Rochester.

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