By PAUL CIFONELLI
When the Red Wings record sat at 12-18 in May of 1976, a pennant didn’t appear to be in sight. A 9-7 come-from-behind victory in game one of a doubleheader against the Syracuse Chiefs on this date all but secured the International League regular season title.
After the Red Wings officially clinched the pennant after an 8-0 victory in game two, Rochester had won 72 of its last 100 games. The run was started with a win over Syracuse and starting pitcher Scott McGregor who, after a mid-season trade, won the clincher against his former team.
In the first game, the Red Wings trailed 7-4 in the seventh and final inning of the game. With runners on first and third, Eddie Murray hit a sacrifice fly to get the scoring started. After two singles loaded the bases, Royle Stillman smacked a two-run, game-tying double. Three batters later, Kiko Garcia delivered his third hit of the game – a two-out, two-RBI single to push Rochester in front 9-7.
Dave Johnson finished out the seventh inning, his third inning of the game, and collected his 11th win of the season.
Taylor Duncan’s two sacrifice flies and a two-run blast from Jim Hutto got the Red Wings out to a 4-0 lead after two innings. The Chiefs answered with seven consecutive runs to set the stage for Rochester’s big seventh inning.
The Red Wings used 18 of their 22 players during the contest and also collected 16 hits off the four Syracuse pitchers.
Rochester finished the season with an 88-50 record, 6.5 games ahead of second-place Syracuse.
Rochester hitting (Game 1)
Syracuse hitting (Game 1)
E- Sielicki DP- Rochester 2, Syracuse 1 LOB- Rochester 7, Syracuse 5 2B- Bergman, Whitfield, Klutts, Skaggs, Stillman HR- Hutto SF- Duncan 2, Murray, Klutts
Rochester 1 3 0 0 0 0 5- 9
Syracuse 0 1 2 0 4 0 0- 7
Rochester pitching (Game 1)
Syracuse pitching (Game 1)
WP- Anderson HBP- by Anderson (Garcia) Time- 2:12
Also on this day: Luis Maza had two hits and two runs batted in and Francisco Liriano struck out nine to lead the Red Wings past the Ottawa Lynx, 5-2, at Frontier Field in 2005. The Wings remain within two games of first place Buffalo… Rochester increased its hold on second place in the International League standings by beating Toronto 8-5 in 1933. A crowd of 9,000 fans were in attendance to see winning pitcher, Tony Kaufmann, shut out the Maple Leafs for eight innings.