The Rochester Red Wings ended their home stand on Sunday with a 12-7 loss against the Norfolk Tides, as the Orioles farm club knocked around Rochester pitching throughout the day to the tune of 18 hits.
The loss moves the Wings to 50-61 on the season and ends what had been a three-game winning streak.
Like on Saturday, Norfolk would strike in the first inning. Daniel Ponce De Leon struck out leadoff man Gunnar Henderson. Jordan Westburg then drew a walk, which was followed by back-to-back singles by Kyle Stowers and Kelvin Gutierrez to load up the bases.
Then, D.J. Stewart sent a ball down the right field line towards first base. The Red Wings thought the ball went fair, but first base umpire David Arrieta ruled it fair. As the ball landed and bounced into right, Westburg and Stowers scored to make it 2-0. The Tides would load the bases again later in the inning with two outs, but Ponce De Leon was able to get Brett Cumberland to fly out to left to end the inning before any more runs were scored.
Norfolk would continue to score in the following innings, including a solo shot by Stewart in the third. By the time the Red Wings came to the plate in the bottom of the fourth against former Mets star Matt Harvey, they trailed 5-0.
De Leon, the Red Wings starter, would ultimately give up eight hits in four innings pitched, allowing five runs, four of them earned.
“We just couldn’t get it done on the mound today,” said Red Wings manager Matthew LeCroy. “De Leon made some mistakes up, and just couldn’t get the swings-and-misses he normally gets upstairs.”
“It wasn’t for lack of effort on his part, he was going at him with all he had, he just missed a couple of times and they made him pay.”
It was in the bottom of the fourth that the Red Wings would get on the board, as Jake Alu hit a one-out two-run shot to right to make it 5-2. His fourth since joining the Wings, it was also his second of the series.
Any hope for a comeback died a half-inning later, however, as the Tides scored five off Red Wings relief pitching in the top of the fifth to make it 10-2. Although the Red Wings would score again in the bottom of the inning with a David Dahl sacrifice fly, it felt as if they would never threaten again.
That feeling, though, would be premature. After giving up a run in the top of the seventh to make it 11-3, the Red Wings had a furious one-out rally after the stretch against Tides reliever Ryan Conroy. Six straight hitters reached base, bringing in three runs. After a strikeout, the Red Wings added another run with a bases-loaded walk of Jecksson Flores to make it 11-7. The Red Wings were unable to score any more, however, as would-be tying run Donovan Casey struck out against the Tides’ Matt Vogel immediately after he was called from the bullpen.
That would be the last time the Red Wings found the scoreboard on Sunday. A towering ninth-inning solo shot by Baseball America’s top midseason prospect, Gunnar Henderson, would add the final run to the board for Norfolk.
Rochester will now travel to Worcester for a long series starting Tuesday. They will be without infielder Jake Noll, who had his hand injured by an errant pitch on Saturday. LeCroy says that he’s been told Noll likely has a fractured finger, a potentially season-ending injury.
“I don’t really know the timeline, I know those usually last four-to-six weeks, so I’m not too optimistic about him coming back for the season,” said LeCroy. “I hate it, he was starting to get hot.”
“I hate it for him, he’s one of the toughest guys I’ve ever managed.”
Also in the air is the status of C.J. Abrams, who came to the Red Wings as part of the Nationals’ Juan Soto trade with San Diego. He was pulled from the lineup shortly before gametime, and LeCroy says that the decision came after hearing from the Washington higher-ups. While it is not clear as of this writing if Abrams will be called up, some Washington beat writers have noted that former Red Wing Luis Garcia has been dealing with a potential injury and did not play in Washington’s 6-0 loss to the Padres on Sunday.
Regardless of what roster moves are coming, the Red Wings will next return to Frontier Field on Aug. 30 to begin a series with the Toledo Mud Hens.