By KEVIN OKLOBZIJA
In an era of launch angles, care-free swings and exaggerated shifts, Syracuse Mets catcher Nick Meyer chose a little old-school baseball to send the Rochester Red Wings to defeat on Sunday afternoon.
Meyer’s two-out bunt down the third base line on a 1-0 pitch from Rogello Armenteros drove home Sebastian Elizalde from third with what turned out to be the game’s only run as the Syracuse Mets blanked the good-pitch, little-hit Wings 1-0 at Frontier Field.
The loss dropped the Red Wings to 6-18. They went 2-4 the past week against the Mets and 4-8 on the homestand.
One big reason they’re not winning: they’re not hitting. Jerad Eickhoff and Corey Oswalt combined on a four-hitter, with one of the hits a single by Armenteros, the Wings starter who has had just four plate appearances in his career.
“This is the big-boy league, you have to stop making excuses and start see some change,” Wings manager Matthew LeCroy said.
Unfortunately for the Wings, it was a lot of the same all weekend. They were shut out over the final 22 innings, losing a doubleheader on Saturday before Sunday’s get-away day setback.
Of their five baserunners on Sunday, just one moved past first base. Geraldo Parra drew a two-walk in the sixth and scooted to third on a single to center by Adiran Sanchez. But Eickhoff ended the threat by retiring Jake Noll on a grounder to third.
“Offensively we were pretty dead, there was not much action,” LeCroy said.
Just seven days earlier, he sensed his hitters were starting to swing the bat with more consistency, that hits would start to come. That wasn’t the case when Syracuse came to town.
On Saturday the Wings were no-hit until the second to last batter of the game in the second game of a doubleheader. On Sunday the four hits were all singles and they struck out 12 times.
“It’s not for a lack of work and you feel bad for these guys,” LeCroy said.
The Mets collected eight hits off four Wings pitchers but scored just once, and that was only because of the surprise bunt by Meyer.
Armenteros struck out the first two batters in the fifth but Elizalde singled, then stole second and kept on going to third when the pitch bounced in the dirt and caromed to the backstop.
Meyer had scalded the ball in his first two at-bats, doubled to left in the first inning and singled to left in the fourth. Considering how well he was swinging the bat, a bunt was unpredictable.
Sanchez, however, was playing well back at third and Meyer laid down the perfect bunt. Elizalde had already crossed the plate and Meyer was on first before Sanchez even picked up the ball.
In an attempt to create some offense, LeCroy gave the hot-hitting Palka the green light on a 3-0 pitch from Oswalt to lead off the bottom of the seventh but he grounded out behind second. He finished 0-for-3, ending his streak of reaching base safely in 14 consecutive games. He was hitting .367 with three home runs during that span.