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Red Wings pitching silences Bulls

By: Mike Rose

Derek Hill and Erick Meija celebrating the Rochester victory Thursday. (Photo: Rochester Red Wings/Ethan Bissinger)

ROCHESTER, N.Y.– The Rochester Plates as they are known on Thursdays at Innovative Field served up a big-time bounce-back effort as they defeated the Durham Bulls 4-3. Rochester was led by a strong pitching effort, starting with José Ureña who twirled five innings allowing one run on four hits and three walks with four strikeouts to earn his first win since August 30, 2022, as a member of the Colorado Rockies. After a run of struggles from the starting staff, Red Wings Manager Matthew LeCroy was pleased with Ureña's efforts.

"Ureña pitched really well, I thought he was great. He's had a hard getting some games for him to win but he pitched a really good game against a really good lineup," LeCroy said.

Much like last night, Rochester jumped in front right out of the gates. The hottest hitter in all of Triple-A, Derek Hill, led off with a single and eventually scored on a sacrifice fly from Jake Alu. Travis Blakenhorn worked a two-out walk to extend the inning before Blake Rutherford and Drew Millas followed with back-to-back RBI knocks to make it a 3-0 game after one.

Ureña continued to post zeroes on for the Red Wings as the score held until the fourth. Jeter Downs led off with a double before it was Hill who delivered once again, picking an RBI on a sacrifice fly. Since returning to Rochester from a 13-game stint with the Washington Nationals Hill has gone 12-for-21 (.571) with 11 runs scored and seven RBI.

José Ureña picked up his first win of the season Thursday. (Photo: Rochester Red Wings/Ethan Bissinger)

A lead-off home run from Kameron Misner in the fifth and from Austin Shenton in the sixth got Durham back into the game heading into the seventh. Misner worked a lead-off walk followed by Vidal Bruján LeCroy turned to his closer Gerson Moreno for the biggest at-bats of the game.

"We sold out and thought that was the ballgame. Basically, that was the save for him against the big part of their order. We knew he could give us two and we felt pretty good about getting two from him today," LeCroy said.

Moreno slammed the door shut striking out reigning International League MVP, Jonathan Aranda and the Tampa Bay Rays No. 1 ranked prospect Curtis Mead. The Bulls did steal one run by executing a double steal to cut the lead in half but Moreno retired Osleivis Basabe on a lineout to maintain the lead. He followed by working a perfect eighth inning against the Bulls' 5-6-7 hitters.

"I'm just really excited for Moreno from where he started to where he is now. He's put himself in a position to pitch at the big-league level and hopefully, he gets that opportunity," LeCroy said.

Hill has gone 8-for-11 in the three games against Durham this series. (Photo: Rochester Red Wings/Ethan Bissinger)

Luis Cessa was able to finish the game off in the ninth to earn his sixth professional save. Rochester (43-48) now sits at 9-9 in the second half as they continue to try and climb the standings and earn the right to face the Norfolk Tides in the postseason.

"I think we just need to keep doing what we're doing. I think we're playing really good baseball right now so keep picking each other and leaning on each other advice and keep cheering each other up. I think we have a really good group right now and everybody's really pushing for each other so it's been fun so far," Downs said.

The Red Wings will look to try and continue to build momentum tomorrow when they take on Durham in game four of the series. Joan Adon (2-5, 4.81) is the projected starter for Rochester while Anthony Molina (0-0, 3.20) is projected to get the ball for the Bulls. First pitch at Innovative Field is scheduled for 6:45 pm.

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