By: Mike Rose
The Rochester Red Wings fell for the second game in a row to the Syracuse Mets 5-3 in ten innings. Rochester saw its five-game winning streak come to an end Saturday before dropping the final game of the home stand today. The Red Wings still took four of six from Syracuse for their third series win in the last four.
Red Wings starter Jose Ureña came into the game off his worst start of the season giving up five earned runs on two hits and four walks in just 0.2 of an inning. Early on he appeared poised to have his struggles continue. Ureña was hit hard early and gave up three runs in the first three innings. However, he managed to settle in and work six innings giving up just those three runs with no walks and keeping the Red Wings in the game. Red Wings manager Matthew LeCroy was pleased with his pitcher's performance.
"A really good adjustment from the last time with no walks when he had four last time. He settled down and kept us in it," LeCroy said.
Ronny Mauricio started the scoring as he lined a bullet over the right field wall for a solo home run to give the Mets an early 1-0 lead. Rochester tied it up in the bottom half of the inning when Derek Hill launched a leadoff home run. The big fly extended Hill's hit streak to 17 games, the longest active streak in the International League. Hill has stepped into the leadoff role in an everyday role with Darren Baker being placed on the injured list yesterday. LeCroy praised Hill's ability to produce no matter where he's been slotted in the lineup.
"He's been huge. If you look he's right up there among our RBI leaders. So to do that in the seven and nine holes where he's been and now number he's putting it together. I couldn't be more pleased. When you think about offensive player he's been the most improved and hopefully, he can continue to keep it going but he's been a big boost for us," LeCroy said.
Danny Mendick quickly gave the Mets the lead back in the second with an RBI single to score Carlos Cortes. The Mets tacked on another with a DJ Stewart solo shot in the third to make it a 3-1 game. Rochester cut into the deficit in the bottom half with an RBI single from Jake Alu to make it a 3-2 game as one run came in to score in all but one of the first six half innings.
The Red Wings would tie the game at three in the fifth when Alu delivered again, this time with an RBI double. Alu was happy to produce some quality at-bats today after going 3-for-19 in the series entering today's contest.
"I haven't been swinging the bat too great so I kind of wanted to simplify my approach and stay up the middle. I was able to stay through on those sliders and get some knocks from them," Alu said.
The score would stay knotted at three all the way into the tenth. Gerson Moreno and Jordan Weems combined to keep the Mets scoreless while Syracuse used Hunter Parsons, Zach Muckenhirn and Grant Herwig to keep Rochester off the board.
In the top half of the tenth, Nick Meyer started as the ghost runner on second base and Jose Ferrer came on to pitch for Rochester. Mendick grounded one to Alu who couldn't field it cleanly leaving runners on the corners with nobody out. Ferrer would then fire one to the backstop allowing Meyer to score what would prove to be the game-winning run. Stewart would tack on an insurance run with a sac fly before Rochester would strand a pair of runners in the bottom half. Alu struck out and Carter Kieboom popped out to end the game as Dennis Santana earned the save for Syracuse.
Following the loss, LeCroy was still happy with his team's recent performances as they head on the road.
"I love the makeup of our club. We just have to squash the last two games and hopefully get back in that win column," LeCroy said.
Rochester will head out on the road Tuesday, following an off day tomorrow, where they will begin a six-game series against the Worcester Red Sox. The Red Wings will take a 26-29 record into that series as they look to finish strong in the first half.