The Rochester Red Wings concluded their series with the Lehigh Valley on Sunday with a 12-2 victory, as the offense battered IronPigs pitching for 22 hits, including four hits each from Jake Alu and newcomer Onix Vega in his AAA debut.
“I couldn’t be more pleased with the way we ended this series against a really good team that’s in a playoff race,” said Red Wings manager Matt LeCroy.
The Red Wings took the lead initially in the bottom of the first on a Lucius Fox double and never looked back, thanks partly to the days at the plate for Alu and Vega.
Alu, who has been on fire during a now-seven game hitting streak and 13-game on-base streak, went four-for-six and fell just a double short of becoming the first Red Wing to hit for the cycle since Michael Restovich in 2004. He hit a two-run home run in the first, flew out in the third, singled in the fourth, and tripled in the sixth.
He ultimately had two shots at completing the cycle in the late innings, hitting a ground-out to bring in a run in the seventh before coming up with two outs in the eighth. He roped a ball to center off Lehigh pitcher Griff McGarry and rounded first looking to stretch the single into a double. The inning- and his chance at a cycle- ended when he was tagged out at second. Although there was some brief thought that he may have touched second on the slide before being tagged after leaving the bag, a look at the rulebook confirmed that the play was ultimately a single with an out at second.
“He’s hitting homers, hitting doubles, he’s having a really, really great year from AA to AAA,” said LeCroy.
Vega, playing designated hitter, set a record in his first at-bat on Sunday. When he came to the plate in the second, the 24-year-old Puerto Rican became the 78th different player to play in a game for Rochester this season. It’s the fourth straight season that the Red Wings have broken their record for different players used. He would make the most of his debut, going four-for-five with two RBIs.
“I’ve been working hard to get to here,” he said. “I had a great season this year in High-A.”
“Everything was good today.”
LeCroy, meanwhile, said that Vega’s bat was a big reason why he was now with the Wings.
“Our farm director, De Jon Watson, told me has a hit tool, [and] if you can hit you always have a chance at playing in the big leagues,” said LeCroy. His call-up all the way from A-ball Wilmington is providing him an opportunity to spotlight that hitting, says LeCroy.
“I’m really happy for him, and I know our organization will be really happy as well.”
Wilmer Perez put an exclamation point on the win in the eighth with a long home run, the first in his AAA career, to make it 12-1. It was the catcher’s capper on a three-for-five day, which included three RBIs.
The 22 hits for Rochester were the most in a home game since July 23, 2019 against Norfolk, and the most in any game since June 5, 2021 at Worcester. Every hitter in the Wings lineup had at least one hit, and six of the nine had at least one RBI. In addition, Andrew Stevenson stole his team-leading 33rd base.
On the mound, the Red Wings gave up two runs while allowing seven hits, striking out 11. Leading the way was Patrick Murphy, who had a season-high seven strikeouts in five innings of work, his longest outing of the season. The win moves him to 3-3 on the season.
The Red Wings, now 64-77 on the season, will begin their final road series of the year in Buffalo on Tuesday at 6:05 PM. The Red Wings will return to Rochester on Monday, Sept. 26 against Worcester to begin a short three-game series to end the season.