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Red Wings sneak past Bisons in extras

By: Mike Rose

Darren Baker went 0-5 in the win Wednesday, but his hustle created four runs for Rochester. (Photo: Rochester Red Wings/Joe Territo)

BUFFALO, N.Y.– It was the little things that made a big difference Wednesday afternoon as Rochester Red Wings (20-20, 54-59) defeated the Buffalo Bisons (20-19, 54-60) 5-4 in 11 innings. It was a sixth-inning error from Bisons' first baseman Spencer Horwitz that allowed the Red Wings to claw back into the contest. In extras, it was situational hitting from Rochester and a lack thereof from Buffalo that proved to be the ultimate difference.

"I thought our bullpen did a nice job cause our bats were a little slow early but we did some situational hitting and we were able to battle and push runs across in the 10th and 11th. I'm really happy, the guys responded to a tough loss Sunday and got out there today against a good team and got it done," Red Wings Manager Matthew LeCroy said.

After Tuesday's game was postponed due to rain Rochester elected to start Roddery Munoz on the mound while Buffalo sent out Andrew Bash who served as an opener in what was essentially a bullpen day for the Bisons.

Despite the lack of a true starter, the Rochester offense was kept in check early on while the Bisons struck first. A string of three consecutive hits in the third inning was capped off with a two-run double from Ernie Clement. The score held there until the sixth.

Richie Martin lined a one-out double to begin the rally before Darren Baker rolled one to first that Horwitz was unable to handle, putting runners on the corners. Luis Garcia followed with a sacrifice fly and then Carter Kieboom drilled a two-run home run to put Rochester on top for the first time. The homer was Kieboom's fifth of the season and extended his hitting streak to 11 games.

Orlevis Martinez responded with a 455-foot solo home run in the seventh to tie the game back up at three. It was the 22nd home run of the season for the Blue Jays' number two ranked prospect across Double and Triple-A.

The score remained tied at three all the way into extra innings. In the top of the tenth, Darren Baker was able to beat out a double play by about one step which allowed Jordy Barley to score the go-ahead run.

Travis Blakenhorn went 3-for-5 in the win Wednesday. (Photo: Rochester Red Wings/Joe Territo)

"Baker running out that double play, he could've easily coasted and it would've been two but he pushed it and got a run in and was safe. That's the game right there, if he doesn't do that we lose," Travis Blakenhorn said.

Rochester looked poised to finish it off in the bottom half of the frame with closer Gerson Moreno on the mound. With runners on the corners and two outs, Hortwitz stepped to the plate. Down to his final strike he delivered an RBI single to tie the game once again. Moreno escaped without allowing the winning run to score, sending the game to the 11th.

Rochester would push across what would ultimately be the winning run when Luis Garcia was able to score on a wild pitch and Hobie Harris would slam the door shut with a perfect bottom half of the 11th.

"I came up in the 11th and I have to get that runner over," Clement said. "The intent was there but I just didn't get the job done. I'm going to try and be better situationally and I think as a team that always helps when you're executing situationally. We're going to work on that and come back a little bit better tomorrow."

While game one in this Thruway Series matchup had implications for both teams as they try to maintain positioning in the chase toward the postseason the storyline that brought many fans to the ballpark was the beginning of a rehab assignment for Blue Jays All-Star shortstop Bo Bichette. Bichette, who had been out since July 31 with a right knee injury, went 2-for-3 while serving as the designated hitter Wednesday.

"That's why I came here mostly, so I could go a hundred percent and see what it felt like so I'm happy with today," Bichette said.

Bichette said he hopes to be in the lineup and play shortstop in Thursday's contest before joining the Blue Jays in Cincinnati.

As for Thursday's matchup, Alemao Hernandez will make his Triple-A debut for the Red Wings after being called up Wednesday. Buffalo is expected to send Wes Parsons (5-2, 4.81) to the mound in game two of the set with the first pitch from Sahlen Field scheduled for 7:05 p.m.

Spencer Horwitz went 2-for-5 for Buffalo in the loss, including driving in the tying run in the 10th. (Photo: Rochester Red Wings/Ethan Bissinger)

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