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Red Wings move into tie for first with 4-2 win
Logan Darnell turned in an outstanding pitching performance, leading the Red Wings to a 4-2 win over the Norfolk Tides Saturday night at Frontier Field. With the win and Pawtucket's loss to Lehigh Valley, the Wings are in a virtual tie for first place with the PawSox atop the International League North Division. The teams meet again Sunday at 6:05 p.m.; the gates will open at 5 p.m. Sunday for an autograph session with former Met and Yankee Dwight "Doc" Gooden.
The Tides entered the game trailing the Wings by a game in the International League wild card race, and took an early lead against rookie left-hander Darnell. Eric Thames reached base when he was hit by a pitch with two outs, and Thames came around to score on a double by former Wing Danny Valencia.
The Wings evened the score in their half of the second, against Orioles pitching prospect Kevin Gausman, Antoan Richardson stroked a single to start the inning, followed by a pair of fly outs and a passed ball. Oswaldo Arcia singled and Richardson scored from second base to tie the game at 1-1. Deibinson Romero followed with a double into the left field corner, plating Arcia for a 2-1 Rochester lead.
Darnell set down the side in the second and third innings, picking up a pair of strikeouts and helped in part by a fine play at third by Romero on a ball hit by Yamiaco Navarro. Gausman worked around baserunners in both the second and third innings, but the game moved to the fourth inning with the Wings still ahead 2-1.
Gausman (0-2) had racked up impressive strikeout numbers this season, fanning 49 in 46 1/3 innings at Double-A and another 14 in 13 1/3 innings so far in three games with Norfolk. But through four innings Saturday, Darnell had five strikeouts compared to two for Gausman.
Darnell issued a two-out walk to Xavier Avery in the fifth inning, Darnell's first walk of the game. But Darnell picked off Avery on a steal attempt, with Jeff Clement throwing out Avery at second base. Opponents haven't successfully stolen a base on Rochester since July 12.
The Wings had a scoring threat in the fifth, when James Beresford led off with a triple to right field. Clement popped out, but Richardson drew a walk to put runners at the corners with only one out. Eduardo Escobar drilled a 2-2 pitch up the middle, bringing in Beresford and putting the Wings up 3-1. That ended Gausman's night on the mound, with Daniel McCutchen coming on in relief for Norfolk. With Chris Parmelee at bat, Richardson and Escobar pulled off a double steal and Norfolk brought their infield in with runners at second and third. Parmelee lofted a fly ball to left field, with Richardson able to tag and score easily on the play to make it 4-1 Rochester.
Chris Snyder hit his third home run of the season to start the sixth inning, and pull the Tides within two runs at 4-2. It was just the second hit of the night off of Darnell at the time; Eric Thames added a single in the same inning, but Romero made another fine play to retire Valencia and end the rally attempt.
Darnell (2-2) finished the seventh inning with a strikeout of Avery, the eighth strikeout of the night for Darnell. The seven innings matched his previous longest outing with the Wings, in his second start July 6 against Pawtucket. He allowed four hits and two earned runs, with a walk and the eight strikeouts.
Cody Eppley took over for Darnell to start the eighth inning, and yielded a base hit to Snyder. That prompted a call to left-hander Edgar Ibarra, to face left-handed hitting Jason Pridie. Pridie looped a ball into right field and Parmelee made a great diving attempt, but the play was ruled a single to give the Tides the tying runs on base with no outs. Ibarra got a pair of fly ball outs, then gave way to right-hander Michael Tonkin. With Valencia at the plate, Tonkin got a key strikeout to strand the runners.
Tonkin got a strikeout, ground out, and ground out to finish the game and record his sixth save of the season.
The game was played with a light rain falling during several innings, but not enough to cause a delay.