Despite a ninth inning rally, the Rochester Red Wings extended their losing streak on Saturday, falling to the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders 7-4 as a nightmare third inning provided the Yankees affiliate a lead they never gave up.
With the loss, the Red Wings have dropped ten straight and have moved to 47-51 on the season. They have now gone 12-32 since they began the season with a 35-19 record.
“The guys are disappointed and frustrated, [and] the mood in the clubhouse is they want to fix it,” said manager Matthew LeCroy post-game. “They want it to be better, they want to be better, things just seem to kill us every day here. It’s not for lack of fighting, I don’t think this team is going to quit.”
The Scranton assault began with the very first batter, as Estevan Florial hit a lead-off home run to right off the rehabbing Will Harris. Harris retired the next three men to escape the inning without any more damage.
The same couldn’t be said for the Red Wings in the top of the third inning. Patrick Murphy, who had a one-two-three second inning after coming in to relieve Harris, started off the inning well by getting Tim Locastro out. However, an error by Joey Meneses allowed Tyler Wade to reach base, and he then stole second to get into scoring position. After striking out Florial for what would have been the third out, however, Murphy walked two straight on some controversial ball/strike calls by home plate umpire Dave Martinez. On one occasion, the Red Wings infield even began to leave the field, thinking that a strike three had just been called.
“You’re going to have to overcome sometimes, when somebody misses a call,” said LeCroy. “That’s part of the game.”
The Red Wings could have still gotten out of the inning without any runs. However, quick base-running by Scranton foiled on the next play. Miguel Andujar sent the ball up the middle, where it was fielded by Dee Strange-Gordon. Strange-Gordon tossed the ball to second to get the force, but Oswaldo Cabrera beat the throw, allowing a run to score and the inning to continue. Murphy was removed and replaced by Francisco Perez. Perez would give up just one hit in an inning and a third of relief, but the one mistake he made would come immediately after coming into the game: a grand slam by Josh Breaux to make it 6-0. The RailRiders later extended that to 7-0 in the fifth inning on an Oswaldo Cabrera home run.
“We’ve been giving up the big runs, the big innings. Not three runs or two runs, but five, six or seven runs an inning. That’s really hard to come back from,” said LeCroy.
The Red Wings would only seriously rally in the bottom of the ninth. Having scored a run on an RBI groundout by Meneses in the sixth, the Wings came in down 7-1. The first four hitters would reach base, including Josh Palacios, who extended his league-leading hitting streak to 18 and on-base streak to 31. The Wings would put three across the plate on a bases-loaded walk by Riley Adams and sacrifice flies by David Dahl and Jake Alu to make it 7-4. Although they would get the tying run to the plate, those three runs would be all they’d get in the ninth, as the rally fell short.
The Red Wings will conclude their series against Scranton on Sunday at 1:05 p.m. Franklyn Kilome is the scheduled starter.