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Rutledge, Red Wings shut down Mets

By: Brayden Peters

ROCHESTER, N.Y. - Starting pitcher Jackson Rutledge and the Rochester Red Wings were on fire against the Syracuse Mets, winning 6-1. Rutledge arguably had his best day on the mound this season, recording six strikeouts while surrendering one walk, three hits and zero runs in six innings pitched.

"That might be the best I've ever seen Rutledge pitch," Red Wings manager Matt LeCroy said. "He was commanding the zone, pitched well with the fastball, which opened up for some secondary pitches for him...He set the tone for us."

The Mets got men on base in the top of the first inning. It all started after Luisangel Acuña, brother of Ronald Acuña, got a single off Rutledge's second pitch of the game. Carlos Cortes was then able to get to first base thanks to a fielder's choice. However, the Red Wings were able to come up with a double play to get out of the top of the first.

Rochester didn't find as much success as Syracuse did while on offense. Darren Baker was able to record a single. Victor Robles got out on a pop fly and then, Carlos Cortes gunned down Baker at first base after getting James Wood out on a pop fly.

The second inning didn't show any signs of improvement for Syracuse's offense. Their first three batters went down via a double play and a ground out. They didn't record a single hit as their first batter, Luke Ritter, only got on base thanks to a walk.

Blankenhorn celebrates the win with his team. Photo Credit: Joe Territo, Rochester Red Wings

As for Rochester, they drew first blood as Travis Blankenhorn recorded his ninth home run of the season. With the homer, the Red Wings got up 1-0.

Blankenhorn wasn't the only Red Wing who was able to get active from the batters' box. Stone Garrett and Carter Kieboom recorded singles. Although Rochester started to make progress offensively, a ground out against Jack Dunn ended the second inning. Still, the Red Wings were getting a rhythm from the plate.

The Mets went quiet in the third inning as they went down one-two-three. This was the beginning of an ugly streak as for the next two innings, Syracuse's first three batters were all retired. This was thanks to Rutledge who recorded four strikeouts in those three innings. Whenever Syracuse made contact into the field of play, they all ended up as ground-outs. Rutledge has been building up to this kind of game.

"A lot of the issues I had especially in that St. Paul start...was getting the pelvis a little bit tilted forward and kind of losing control, losing stability in my core," Rutledge said. "So, using that step back to kind of leverage, being able to tuck my pelvis and engage my core a little bit better is kind of the goal..."

Rutledge throws a pitch. Photo Credit: Joe Territo, Rochester Red Wings

The Red Wings offense found their groove offensively after Blankenhorn's home run. They brought in two runs and three hits in the third inning. In the fourth inning, they brought in three runs via Blankenhorn's two-run single and a double from Drew Millas drove in James Wood.

"I think we put together a good team offense today," Blankenhorn said. "I'm happy we could put some runs up behind Rutledge because obviously he was throwing gems. So, it was good to give him some real support."

Syracuse broke their streak in the sixth inning, as Joe Hudson and Carlos Cortes both recorded singles. However, the Mets couldn't get any one of them home. Rochester was quiet as well offensively in the sixth inning, as three batters went down in order.

The Mets got themselves in a great scoring position in the seventh inning. Thanks to two singles and base advancements from Rylan Blannon and Luke Ritter, third and second bases were occupied. They managed to advance after relief pitcher Amos Willingham threw a wild pitch. He managed to come up clutch, though, as he recorded two strikeouts and Jack Dunn recorded a flyout to end the top of the inning.

Mark Vientos ruined the Red Wings' hopes of a shutout in the ninth inning. He recorded a home run to give the Mets their first and only run of the game.

Closing pitcher Stephen Nogosek proceeded to strike out Bannon. Then, Ritter got out on a fly out and to end things off, Nogosek struck out Yolmer Sanchez to secure the 6-1 win.

With the win, the Red Wings get above .500 as they are now 15-14 while the Mets drop to 17-14. Rochester will have to prepare for their next series when they take on the Scranton/Wilkes-Barres Railriders on the road. The Railriders currently have the best record in the league at 22-9. The first game will start on Tuesday and the first pitch is at 6:05 p.m.

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