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Wings walk off again, push win streak to five
Jeff Clement drove in the tying run, and Brian Dinkelman scored the winning run as the Red Wings beat the Pawtucket Red Sox 3-2 Saturday night at Frontier Field. The Wings had rallied to tie the game in the bottom of the eighth inning, and then defeated the first-place PawSox in extra innings for the second straight game. It was the fifth straight win for Rochester, tying their best win streak this season.
The series concludes with a 1:05 p.m. Sunday afternoon contest; kids can run the bases with Spikes and Mittsy after the game, plus a post-game concert featuring national recording artists Parmalee and their hit song, "Carolina."
Rookie left-hander Logan Darnell made his first Frontier Field appearance, and second overall Triple-A appearance with the Wings; his first start on June 25 was cut short in the third inning due to a blister on his finger. Darnell allowed a base hit to lead-off hitter Jackie Bradley, Jr., followed by an infield single by Drew Sutton in the first. After a groundout, Will Middlebrooks snuck a single through the infield and Pawtucket had a 1-0 lead.
Pawtucket knuckleballer Steven Wright was coming off a complete-game shutout of Scranton/Wilkes-Barre in his last start on July 1, and had an easy 1-2-3 inning against the top of the Rochester lineup Saturday. He retired the first four batters he faced before granting Chris Herrmann a one-out walk, but Eric Farris grounded into a double play to end the second inning. Wright sat down Rochester in order in the third inning as well, with the final out coming on a Drew Butera strikeout. The Pawtucket starter struck out one Red Wing batter in each of the first five innings.
Darnell settled down after surrending the first inning run. The 6' 2" southpaw went 1-2-3 through the Red Sox side in the second, third and fourth innings. He forced Alberto Rosario to ground into a double play in the second and recorded a pair of strikeouts to open the fourth inning. Although Alex Hassan reached base with a two-out knock, he was picked off by Darnell at first to close the top half of the fourth.
Wright received some help from his defense in the bottom of fourth. After issuing a lead-off walk to Antoan Richardson, Bradley, Jr., manning center field for the Red Sox, stole extra bases from Doug Bernier with a diving highlight-reel catch in right center. Wright cut short a Rochester rally with a strikeout and a groundout following the Red Wings' first hit of the game, a single to shallow center field from Chris Colabello, preserving the one-run lead through four innings.
Farris worked his way into scoring position in the home half of the fifth. He reached first safely on an infield single to lead off the inning and then stole second base with one out. Wright worked his way out of the jam, stranding the tying run at second after punching out Ray Olmedo and inducing a loud fly out on a well hit ball to left field by Butera.
Bernier flashed his defensive brilliance to record the first out of the seventh inning. He dove to his left to snag what looked like a potential infield base hit, quickly jumped to his feet and then fired the ball to Colabello at first, beating a hustling Middlebrooks to the bag for the out. Darnell then retired the next two batters on strikes, earning his third and fourth strikeouts and completing his fifth 1-2-3 inning.
Cody Eppley took the mound in relief of Darnell to start the eighth, and set down the side in order. Darnell allowed five hits and two walks over seven innings, notching four strikeouts.
Wright's day was done after seven innings as well, and he allowed just two hits and three walks while striking out six. Anthony Carter took over on the mound for the PawSox, and quickly found himself in a jam. Olmedo led off with a double down the left field line and Butera reached first base on his bunt attempt to put runners at first and third with no outs. Richardson popped up a bunt to the mound, which Carter snagged for the first out. That brought up Bernier, who worked the count to 3-2 before dumping a single to right field to bring in Olmedo with the tying run. Colabello flew out to right for the second out and Carter struck out Clement, but the Wings had tied the game at 1-1.
Blake Martin entered the game for the Red Wings in the ninth and walked the first batter he faced, Bradley, Jr. Sutton followed with a sacrifice bunt to move the go-ahead run into scoring position. Martin struck out Hamilton for the second before turning the mound over to Luis Perdomo. Perdomo (4-3) was called upon to face Middlebrooks and made a nifty play on a chopper toward third base, throwing out Middlebrooks to end the threat.
In the bottom of the ninth, Eric Farris drew a one-out walk, then stole second base with Jermaine Mitchell at the plate; it was the second steal of the game for Farris. Carter went to a full count on Mitchell before striking him out, and then uncorked a wild pitch with Olmedo at the plate, allowing Farris to move to third base. Olmedo grounded out to end the threat and send the game into extra innings for the second straight night.
With one out in the 10th, Pawtucket used a walk and a single to put runners at first and third for Alberto Rosario. On a squeeze play, Rosario bunted right back to Perdomo, but rather than toss the ball to the catcher, Herrmann, Perdomo attempted to tag out Justin Henry himself. Henry was safe, and Pawtucket had regained the lead, 2-1.
Pedro Beato took over on the mound in the 10th inning for the PawSox and walked James Beresford to put the tying run on base. Richardson laid down a sacrifice bunt to get Beresford to second, and Beato struck out Bernier for out number two. Beato (5-3) walked Colabello intentionally, and for the second straight game, Clement delivered a key extra-inning hit. Clement ripped a single to right field and Beresford scored from second to tie the game at 2-2. Beato walked Herrmann to load the bases with two outs, bringing Farris to the plate. On a 1-1 pitch, Farris grounded sharply to Henry at second base - but Henry booted the ball, and the error allowed pinch-runner Dinkelman to score the winning run.