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  • Aiden Locke

Red Wings stay red-hot

ROCHESTER, NY --- The Rochester Red Wings bid at a second half International League title stays strong with a 7-3 win over the Buffalo Bisons. The fourth ranked prospect according to Dylan Crews hit his first home run at Innovative Field in the win.

"He hung something and I was able to get a good swing on it and it felt good," Crews said. "It doesn't matter how many runs we're down by, we're always putting ourselves back into the game, we're fighting every single game so it's been great so far."

#3 Dylan Crews rounding the bases after his home run on July 5, 2024. Photo credit: Ethan Bissinger / Rochester Red Wings

The Bisons had a stronger start than Rochester with a three run third inning. Lead off hitter Phil Clarke drew a walk. Shortstop Gabriel Cancel lined a base hit to left field and DH Riley Tirotta was hit by a pitch to juice the bases for outfielder Will Robertson. Robertson smashed a ball off starting Pitcher Jackson Rutledge's leg that led to no play in the infield. Clarke scored on the play to but Buffalo up 1-0. With one out, outfielder Alan Roden reached on a fielders choice off an error from Rochester second baseman Darren Baker. Roden was credited with one RBI off the two runs that scored. Rutledge bounced back to retire the next two batters to end the inning.

"He battled, man," Red Wings manager Matt LeCroy said. "He couldn't find a grip on the ball, he was struggling with the sweat on his hands and with the rain and he came in and fought like crazy."

Rutledge entered the game 4-5 with a 6.82 ERA on the season. He made quick work of the first inning but an injury to Buffalo's Rafael Lantigua caused an extended delay. Lantigua swung at an inside pitch which deflected off his hands. The shortstop left the game and caused a massive shakeup in Buffalo's defensive alignment.

On and off rain throughout led to challenging conditions for the pitchers. Rutledge struggled to get comfortable but managed 4.1 respectable innings. He ended the evening with four K's, four walks, three earned runs allowed and threw 102 pitches.

The Red Wings bullpen stepped up for Rochester, shutting out Buffalo for the remainder of the game while only allowing three hits between five different pitchers. Lefty Tim Cate was credited with the win and was the first man out of the pen for the Red Wings. He went 1.1 innings with a K and walk.

"They all ended a threat so to me that's picking each other up so im really happy," LeCroy said. "I'm just really happy with how things are going and I'm hoping we can stay hot tommorow, go into the couple days off that we need then a roadtrip in Worcester where anything can happen."

Crews' home run came in the bottom of the third. It was a solo shot deep to left field that traveled 400 feet with a 104.7 MPH exit velocity to put Rochester on the board.

#20 Stone Garrett making a play in the outfield on July 5, 2024. Photo credit: Ethan Bissinger / Rochester Red Wings

The bats remained quiet afterward until the bottom of the fifth. Rochester took control of the game with a four-run inning. The entire lineup saw the plate and a massive two-RBI double for Stone Garrett ignited the Red Wings offense. Garrett who went 2-for-3 with two walks in Thursday's game stepped up once again amid recent struggles on the year. Garrett breaking through his slump only adds another weapon to the red-hot Red Wings.

"We have a great group of guys so the energy is always up and the morale is always high," Garrett said. "That's something you look forward to, getting to the stadium every day and cracking jokes and just having good energy."

Catcher Drew Millas was the only Red Wing with a multi-hit game. He had an early base hit in the second and a two-RBI triple in the seventh to put the game out of reach. Rochester's nine hits spread across eight batters was more than enough to keep the hot start to the second half going.

#43 Rico Garcia on the mound on July 5, 2024. Photo credit: Ethan Bissinger / Rochester Red Wings

Rico Garcia was the final Rochester pitcher to see the mound, getting two K's and allowing one walk to earn his 14th save on 15 opportunities for the season.

"It's good when you got a guy you can trust," LeCroy said. "There's a lot of things coming around for our bullbin as far as setting up some roles in big spots."

Rochester sits 9-2 in the second half which leads the IL, as Buffalo falls to 3-8. The Red Wings hold a 4-1 series lead against the Bisons with the series finale on Saturday, first pitch scheduled for 6:05. Brad Lord (1-0, 5.79 ERA, 1.82 WHIP) slated to start on the mound for Rochester, with Buffalo's starter TBD.


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