By TOM GARIGEN
Heading into the regular season finale with 97 runs batted in, Leo Gomez was hoping to accomplish two things.
First, the Rochester slugger wanted to be the first Red Wing to reach the century mark in the RBI column since Jim Fuller had 108 in 1973. And second, he wanted to hold off Hensley Meulens of the Columbus Clippers to claim the International League RBI title.
Suffice to say, Gomez wasn’t thrilled when he didn’t see his name in the lineup.
A foul ball off his shin during an at bat the night before was all that Rochester skipper Greg Biagini needed to see to give his best run producer the night off as the Wings wrapped up the 1990 regular season. Even without Gomez, Rochester defeated Syracuse 3-1 to cap the campaign with 89 wins to set an Orioles-era record and coast to the division title.
”Tomorrow is more important than any record,” Biagini told the D&C of the start of the Governor’s Cup playoffs against Columbus. “The recommendation was if you want him for the playoffs, give him the day off. It’s disappointing. It would be nice for Leo to get 100 RBI. He had a good year.”
While Gomez stalled at 97, he did win the league title after Meulens went 0-for-4 to finish at 96.
“I wanted to go for 100,” Gomez added. “I saw my name not in the lineup. I talked to Biagini … I played in 131 games. One more won’t hurt me. I may not get three RBI, but who knows.”
Rochester prevailed behind the pitching of Mike Linskey and the bat of shortstop Juan Bell. Linskey went 8 ⅓ innings, allowing a run on seven hits while striking out four. Reliever Francisco De La Rosa got a strikeout after a hit and an error, and Joel McKeon came on to induce a grounder for the final out.
Bell provided the bulk of the offense, going 4-for-4 for his second four-hit game of the season. His run-scoring single in the bottom of the sixth broke a 1-all tie and provided the eventual game-winning RBI.
The Wings also scored an unearned run in the third, and another run in the seventh on a Marty Brown sacrifice fly.
|Red Wings 3, Chiefs 1|
|Ducey lf||4||0||2||1||J. Bell ss||4||0||4||1|
|Runge 3b||4||0||1||0||Dulen 2b||4||0||0||0|
|D. Bell cf||3||0||1||0||Contreras rf||3||2||1||0|
|Sprague c||3||0||0||0||Hoiles c||4||0||0||0|
|Eppard 1b||4||0||1||0||Brown 3b||2||0||0||1|
|Delacruz rf||4||0||1||0||Kommnsk lf||3||0||1||0|
|Pederson dh||4||0||0||0||Tackett dh||3||0||0||0|
|Escobar ss||3||1||1||0||Shmbrg 1b||3||1||0||0|
|Garrison 2b||3||0||0||0||Hithe cf||2||0||1||0|
|Syracuse||0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 – 1|
|Rochester||0 0 1 0 0 1 1 0 0 – 3|
|E – Runge, Sprague, Escobar, Komminsk. DP – Syracuse 3, Rochester 2. LOB – Syracuse 6, Rochester 11. 2B – J. Bell 2, Contreras. SF – Brown.|
|Loynd L 4-8||1||1||1||1||2||2|
|Linskey W 7-9||8.1||7||1||1||1||4|
|De La Rosa||.1||0||0||0||1||1|
|McKeon S, 3||.1||0||0||0||0||0|
|WP – Wanick. HBP – Tackett (by Loynd).
T – 2:39. Attendance – 7,169.
Also On This Day: 2005 – The Red Wings defeated rival Syracuse 5-1 in the final home game of the season. 12,251 fans witnessed starting pitcher J.D. Durbin allow just one run over seven innings of work. Josh Rabe’s three-run home run in the first was all Durbin needed. Brian Buchanan and Garrett Jones led the second inning off with back-to-back singles before Rabe drilled a three-run homer into the visiting bullpen. The home run gave Rabe 11 for the season in just 88 games played. Buchanan added a two-run blast in the sixth inning, scoring Luis Rodriguez, giving Rochester a 5-1 lead. With the 12,251 fans in attendance at Saturday nights final home game, the Wings’ season attendance grew to 452,301 for the season (sixth highest in Red Wings history), 2006 – Red Barons pitcher Jeremy Cummings pitched a no-hitter, while the Scranton offense pounded out 16 hits in a 5-0 win over the Red Wings at Frontier Field.