Suddenly slumping Wings lose 4th straight, 6-4
Updated: Sunday, August 25 2013, 12:57 AM EDT
The Red Wings couldn't overcome five unearned runs scored in the third inning, as the Indianapolis Indians beat Rochester 6-4 Saturday night at Frontier Field. Jermaine Mitchell went 4-for-4 for Rochester. The second place Wings still trail IL North leader Pawtucket; Norfolk lost to Durham, so the Wings still lead the Tides by 1 1/2 games for the wild card playoff spot. Future Hall of Famer Lee Smith makes an autograph appearance at Sunday's 1:05 p.m. home game, with the gates opening at 12 noon.
Both teams relied heavily on their long relievers. Rochester starter Logan Darnell only pitched three innings while his counterpart Andy Oliver lasted three plus before being replaced. Darnell surrendered five runs, all unearned, on six hits and three walks. Oliver faced four batters in the third before being relieved, giving up three runs on five hits and three walks.
First baseman Chris Parmelee and second baseman Eric Farris combined for a double play on a failed bunt attempt by Robert Andino in the first. Indianapolis' lead-off hitter Alex Presley was expecting a bunt to advance him to second, but Andino popped out to Parmelee, who then returned the ball to Farris covering first for a quick second out. Darnell struck out Travis Snider to end the opening frame.
Oliver made easy work of the Red Wings' lineup in the first two innings. He went through the side 1-2-3 in the first and second, and started an inning-ending double play after issuing a walk in the second.
All nine Indians batted in the third as they jumped out to a 5-0 lead; all five runs were unearned after an error on Eduardo Escobar, who couldn't handle a pass from Parmelee as they tried to pick off Darren Ford. Ford would score the first run on an RBI single from Snider. With the bases loaded, Russ Canzler drove in a run on with a sac fly to center. Jared Goedert and Kelly Shoppach drove in one and two runs respectively with base hits, all with two outs.
Mitchell earned the first hit of the game off Oliver with a single up the middle in the bottom of the third. Darin Mastroianni, who reached after getting plunked by Oliver, scored Rochester's first run on a Ray Olmedo ground out. Antoan Richardson blooped a single to shallow right center before Oliver walked Escobar, which loaded the bases for the Wings with only one out. Parmelee cut the deficit to three with a sac fly.
Darnell (4-4) was replaced by Virgil Vasquez to begin the fourth inning. Vasquez labored through his first inning on the bump. He walked Ford, who scored his second run on a sac fly, extending the Indianapolis lead to 6-2. He looked much sharper in the fifth and sixth, striking out four of the six men he faced. Vasquez retired 10 straight between the fourth and seventh innings with five strikeouts in that span.
Rochester rallied in the bottom of the fourth. Eric Farris, Mastroianni and Mitchell earned consecutive singles with no out; Mitchell singled home Aaron Hicks, who was walked by Oliver to start the inning. The Indians pulled Oliver after the trio of base hits, sending Graham Godfrey to the mound. Olmedo plated Farris which a sacrifice fly to make it 6-4, but fly outs in the next two at-bats ended the rally. The Wings loaded the bases again in the bottom of the sixth. Mastroianni reached safely for the third time with a walk, and Mitchell followed with his third hit of the game. With two out, Godfrey (10-8) hit Richardson to put a runner on every bag, but Esocbar stranded them with a one-hopper to second for an easy out.
The Indians had a chance to add to their two-run lead in the eighth. Vasquez responded with his sixth strikeout after giving up two base hits. Presley then grounded out to second, stranding both runners. Vasquez tossed five innings, giving up only one run on four hits. His six strikeouts were a game-high.
Mitchell singled for the fourth time in his four at-bats, putting one on with two outs in the bottom of the eighth. Left-handed batter Jeff Clement, was called upon to pinch hit for Olmedo. The Indians responded by relieving Godfrey with the southpaw Atahualpa Severino. The chess match proved to be successful for the Indians as Clement swung and missed at the ninth pitch of the at-bat.
A.J. Achter was called upon to pitch the ninth. He walked the first two Indians he faced, which prompted a mound meeting with Wings' pitching coach Marty Mason. Mason was ejected after getting into a heated argument with home plate umpire Travis Carlson over balls and strikes. After a pair of pop outs, Achter walked the bases loaded, but Carlson called strike three on a pitch low and outside to ring up Goedert.