Robles, Red Wings slug past Scranton/Wilkes-Barre
By: Mike Rose
It certainly never hurts to have a big league bat in your lineup and the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders learned that firsthand Tuesday. Nationals OF Victor Robles provided a major league performance on the third game of his rehab assignment with Rochester as he helped lead the Red Wings in a blowout victory over the RailRiders 18-10.
Robles finished the evening 3-for-3 with a double and two home runs. He also drove in and scored four runs before exiting for a pinch hitter in the seventh. Robles became just the third Red Wing since 2005 with at least two home runs, a double and four runs scored in a game. Red Wings Manager Matthew LeCroy praised Robles efforts.
"He's a big league hitter and he had a tough game in Worcester but he made some really nice adjustments getting in a better position to hit. He didn't miss them tonight. So really, really pleased with him," LeCroy said.
LeCroy mentioned Robles is scheduled to be in the linuep for the next two days before he makes his likely return to the Nationals order this weekend.
The offensive production got rolling early on in this one. Rochester went with Anthony Banda to start the game as the Red Wings work to stretch him out to handle a starter's workload. It was just Banda's eleventh start since 2020 and it showed at times. Oswald Peraza lined a base hit and Andrés Chaparro worked a walk before Carlos Narvaez delivered a two-run double to make it an early 2-0 edge for the RailRiders.
Derek Hill got the scoring started for Rochester in the bottom half with a lead-off home run. It was the second consecutive game and the fourth time this season Hill led off leaving the yard. Due to an injury to Darren Baker, Hill has been vaulted to the top of the lineup and LeCroy has been impressed with the results.
"He's started to have probably the best season he's ever had in his life and I'm really proud cause he's a good teammate. He works at it every day and even when he struggles sometimes he doesn't really show it because he's very confident. Just a good dude that you love to see do well," LeCroy said.
Shortly thereafter the runs kept coming for the Red Wings. Jake Alu would reach on an error before Robles came up with an RBI double. Nomar Mazara would come up with a sacrifice fly to bring in Robles and give the Red Wings the lead for the first time, 3-2.
What would become a back-and-forth affair continued in the second when the RailRiders took the lead right back. Jesús Bastidas would drill an RBI single to tie the game up. Oswald Peraza would reach on a fielder's choice to bring in run number four.
Robles continued his demolition of RailRiders pitching in the third when launched a solo home run to knot the game back at four once again. After a RailRiders run in the top of the fourth, Rochester blew the game open in the bottom half.
It would begin with Jake Noll, who came in as a defensive replacement for an injured Erick Meija. In his first at-bat of the night, he drilled an RBI double to tie the game up once more. Noll was amidst an 0-11 slump since returning from the injured list before that hit.
"That's the first time in my life I've gotten a hit in one of those replacement situations. I'm just glad to get that first hit out of the way. Starting the season grinding and not playing a lot but got a couple of hits today and helped the team win," Noll said.
Noll's efforts played a part in what would see the first six batters of the inning reach safely for the Red Wings. Derek Hill came up with RBI single next before Carter Kieboom delivered a bases-loaded two-run single. Travis Blankenhorn also drove in a pair in a scary sequence late in the inning. Blankenhorn's two-run single was lined off of the face of RailRiders first basemen Francy Cordero who exited the game under his own power shortly thereafter. The two runs capped off a six-run fourth, making it a 10-5 lead for Rochester.
After Noll and Jake Alu each singled to start the fifth, Victor Robles strode back to the plate. Robles launched his second home run of the night to center field to blow the game open at 13-5. The RailRiders continued to battle however tacking on five runs in the sixth and seventh innings aided in part by a towering two-run homer from Estevan Florial.
However, the Red Wings put the game out of reach for good in the eighth thanks to the Jakes, Alu and Noll. Noll lined a bases-loaded RBI single and then Alu put the exclamation mark on the game with a grand slam. Alu relayed that the message for the team was to try and work into more hitter-friendly counts
"We were getting good counts. I think that was our main goal this week talking to skip. Just getting in good hitting counts and you just want to get your 'A' swings off and I think we did that well tonight," Alu said.
The victory snapped a four-game skid for the Red Wings as they begin a 12-game homestand over the next two weeks. They'll be back in action Wednesday, June 14 for game two of the series against Scranton with the first scheduled for 6:45 pm.