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Red Wings split unique double header

ROCHESTER, NY --- The Rochester Red Wings took on the St. Paul Saints in a double header on tuesday. Rochester took game one 6-2 while St. Paul stole game two 4-1. St. Paul was designated as the home team in game two due to that second leg being a make up from a rained out contest from their seires in Minnesota back in April.

Game one was filled with offense on both sides despite the relatively lower score.

Game one of the double-header was all Rochester early on. Rochester starting pitcher Joan Adon dominated. St. Paul DH Austin Martin hit a lead off single in the first inning but was put out on a double play the next at-bat. Adon retired seven of the first eight hitters for the Saints with two strikeouts.

Joan Adon delivering a pitch vs. St Paul on May 28. 2024. Photo Credit: Joseph Territo / Rochester Red Wings

"Six innings no walks, for me the walks is what's gotten him (Adon) in trouble," Red Wings manager Matt LeCroy said. "He was really good and our offense did a really nice job in game one."

Consistent hitting was the key as the Red Wings finished with 10 hits in game one. A solo shot in the second inning by first baseman Juan Yepez scored the opening run. Right fielder Travis Blankenhorn hit a solo shot in the third to give Rochester a 2-0 lead. That homer put Blankenhorn is the sole HR lead of the international league with 14.

"I'm not trying to hit home runs, I'm just trying to put the barrel on the ball and when they go over the fence I'm happy," Blakenhorn said. "I just go out there and try to be the same guy I always am and continue to do what I do."

Rochester's offense provided runs in every inning outside of the first and sixth. A three run fifth inning extended the Rochester lead to 6-0. Blankenhorn led off with a walk. The Red Wings followed up with five straight hitters reaching base after Yepez popped out to right field. Center fielder Alex Call hit an RBI double which scored Blankenhorn. DH Carter Kieboom hit a two RBI single to cap off the explosive inning. Left Fielder Darren Baker, the eithth at-bat of the inning, grounded to a 4-6-3 double play to end the fifth inning.

#13 Travis Blankenhorn rounding the bases after a home run against St. Paul on May 28 2024. Photo Credit: Joseph Territo / Rochester Red Wings

"With a double header, you know that games are shorter, only seven innings so you want to set the tone early offensively," LeCroy said. "I loved our bats in the first game. The second game not so much."

St. Paul starting pitcher Randy Dobnak struggled in his ninth start of the year. His record falls to 3-4 after pitching 4.1 innings giving up eight hits, six earned runs, with three walks, one strikeout and two home runs. Dobnak threw 80 pitches with 44 strikes in his 11th appearance of the season.

For Rochester, Adon went six innings allowing five hits, two earned runs and two strikeouts. He threw 78 pitches with 52 strikes.

"If I have a starter that's starting (for a double headder) I normally like to let them go first because then you can see how far we can go," LeCroy said. "A lot of times if you let put the bullpen guy go first and wait for the second game you can tend to be a little bit shorten out. Adon, that was a big outting for us, it kept us from having to use a lot of people."

#7 Juan Yepez rounding the bases after a home run against St. Paul on May 28th 2024. Photo Credit: Joseph Territo / Rochester Red Wings

Former Red Wing and current Saint, Hobie Harris relieved Dobnak in the fifth inning and got the Saints pitching staff over the line in the first game of the double header.

Game two was a different story for both sides. St. Paul's pitching led the way while both teams didn't generate to much offensively. St. Paul's starting pitcher Caleb Boushley pitched five innings, allowing one earned run, two walks and five strikeouts. He threw 84 pitches with 49 strikes.

Saints' Reliver Josh Winder came on in the sixth inning. He allowed two hits and tossed three strikeouts to close the door on Rochester.

Rochester's pitching staff struggled with walks in game two. A four walk fifth inning combined between Robert Gsellman and Luis Reyes allowed an easy run for St. Paul in a game where offense was tough to come by. The Saints' runs came one at a time. They scored in the first, third, fourth and fifth. Patience at the plate was the biggest factor in game two for St. Paul. Reyes settled down and pitched a clean sixth inning to limited anymore damage for Rochester.

Both teams finished game two with five hits after Rochester came up empty handed in the top of the seventh. Rochester third baseman Trey Lipscom hit a double to right center field with two outs to get himself in scoring position. Right fielder Stone Garrett struck out at the next at-bat for St. Paul to secure the split.

#19 Jack Dunn in the field against St. Paul on May 28 2024. Photo Credit: Joseph Territo / Rochester Red Wings

"We're coming togehter as a group," LeCroy said. "I love the group, they love each other, they play together, fight together and we've been in almost every game all year long."

Blankenhorn finished the double header 2-6 with a walk and a home run. Yepez went 2-6 as well with a home run and two RBI's for Rochester. Game three of the series is scheduled for Wednesday night with the first pitch slated for 6:05 p.m.. Rochester sits two games above .500 at 26-24 while St. Paul sits five games under .500 at 23-28 on the season.

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