By PAUL CIFONELLI
Jim Traber knew he had the advantage against Tidewater Tides reliever Wes Gardner in the ninth inning in 1985. With Gardner working the day before, Traber was confident he wasn’t going to see the hurler’s best stuff and turned that confidence into a walk-off grand slam to give the Red Wings an 8-6 victory.
“He’s not the type of reliever that can throw every day,” Traber told the Democrat & Chronicle. “He throws hard. When he throws a couple days, he doesn’t have as good velocity.”
What also helped Traber, a left-handed batter, get the ball out to left field was a breeze blowing out that way.
“I was just looking for something away,” Traber said. “I felt if I could get it in the air, it might have a chance.”
Earlier in the ninth inning, Leo Hernandez connected on a bases-loaded single to trim Rochester’s deficit to 6-4. Gardner failed to record an out in the final frame.
Tidewater scored what it thought was an insurance run in the top of the ninth when Alfredo Pedrique touched home after reaching on a single.
Red Wings starter Don Welchel got off to a tough start, allowing three runs in the first two innings, including a solo home run to Billy Beane, his 18th of the season. Beane’s blast was also a product of the wind leaving the stadium.
“He didn’t hit it that good,” Welchel said. “But it just told me I better get it together.”
Welchel then cruised until the eighth inning, when an RBI single, double steal and sacrifice fly put the Tides up 5-3.
Hernandez also scored an unearned run in the fourth inning for the Red Wings on a sacrifice fly from John Stefero. Bob Molinaro popped a two-run homer in the next inning to knot the game at three.
GWRBI- Traber E- Salazar, Norman DP- Rochester 1 LOB- Tidewater 5, Rochester 9 2B- Beane, Blocker HR- Beane, Molinaro, Traber SB- Blocker, Davis S- Granger SF- Hearn, Stefero
Tidewater 2 1 0 0 0 0 0 2 1- 6
Rochester 0 0 0 1 2 0 0 0 5- 8
WP- Welchel Balk- Olwine Time- 2:33 Attendance- 2,325
Also on this day: Harry O’Hagan, the player manager for the Rochester Broncos, pulled off baseball’s first recorded unassisted triple play in a 10-6 victory over Jersey City in 1902.