Baseball is back in downtown Rochester

Wings drop home opener to Lehigh Valley IronPigs

Phillies affiliate clubs 16 hits

ROCHESTER – Red Wings General Manager Dan Mason is now 1 for 5 in his opening game temperature guarantee. Thursday’s game time temperature was reported as 39 degrees. This year his guarantee was 51 degrees, so all 5,845 fans in attendance will receive a free ticket to a game of their choice in April or May.

The “Duke of Doppler”, as Mason is known, is now hitting at the Mendoza line (.200). Season ticket holders will  also receive an additional ticket for a game of their choice as well as those who purchased a ticket for this game only.

HE’S BACK – Pat Ross, aka Wing Nut, was all ready for Thursday’s Rochester Red Wings home opener. Wing Nut’s head gear is of Rochester’s mascot Spikes holding a bat.

ROCSportsReport photo by Mike Sorenson

Thursday’s home opener was the 41st for season-ticker holder Kathy O’Neill. The home opener means “Spring is here. Being back with my baseball family. There is nothing like it,” she said as others in her section, just to the left of the Wings’ dugout, filed in.

Through those 41 seasons O’Neill said she has missed “maybe less than five times.” One memorable season opener she missed was due to her winning the New York State Queens bowling tournament and was out of town.  “There is nothing like the first game, the first beer, the first hog dog,” O’Neill continued. A true blue baseball fan, O’Neill said she still “bleeds orange for the Baltimore Orioles,” the long-time parent club for the Wings. She also follows the current major league affiliate, the Minnesota Twins and the Los Angeles Dodgers. “I have an infatuation with Babe Ruth,” she continued.

As for favorite Red Wings, she counts Royle Stillman – later a member of the Orioles and Chicago White Sox. Another favorite was Gary Robson who threw a perfect game at old Silver Stadium back in August 1974. She recalled becoming hooked forever when she struck up a conversation with Johnny Oates and Bobby Grich during an Orioles exhibition game against the Wings. They invited her into the Orioles dugout and her baseball fate was sealed.

Another of her baseball activities is hanging out with her friend, former pitcher for the Boston and Milwaukee Braves, New York and San Francisco Giants and Cleveland Indians lefthander, Johnny Antonelli.

As for the game itself, the Wings fell behind 3-0 after the first inning and were never able to catch up, with the final score 13-6 for the visitors. The IronPigs scored after a single, a triple, a walk and two singles. The lead was 4-0 following a triple and single in the third inning. The Wings got their first three runs of the home season on Luke Raley’s first-ever AAA home run. Ronald Torreyes, who had doubled, and Lamont Wade, who was walked, scored ahead of Raley. The home run traveled 390 feet into the left corner of the Rochester bullpen. The hit was recorded as leaving the rat at 110 mph.

Lehigh Valley responded immediately with three runs. With two outs, Lane Adams, who had tripled in the third and scored, doubled. Rob Brantly walked, and was followed by the eighth and ninth place batters, Shane Robinson and Malquin Canelo, who both doubled. The Red Wings scored single runs in both the fifth and sixth innings. In the fifth, catcher Tomas Telis singled and after one out scored on a double by John Andreoli. In the sixth, Wilin Rosario  singled, went to third on a double by Brent Rooker and scored on a fielder choice by Jordany Valdespin.

Another Lehigh run scored in the eighth before the Iron Pigs put the game out of reach with five runs in the top of the ninth on four hits, a walk and two errors by Wings first baseman Rosario.

Manager Joel Skinner credited his team with playing hard all night, scoring runs after falling behind in the first inning. “We played the whole night,” he stated, noting the Wings were down just two runs entering the ninth.

Designated hitter Raley was named the Rochester “Player of the Game” as he collected three hits in four at bats, with three runs batted in.

Three IronPigs, Phil Gosselin, Lane Adams and Shane Robinson, all recorded three hits. Ninth place hitter Malquin Canelo paced Lehigh Valley with three runs driven in. The win went to IronPigs starter Jerad Eickhoff. He threw five innings, giving up four runs, three of them earned. He struck out six and walked one Red Wing. Austin Davis picked up the save as he entered in the eight inning with the tying run on deck. Wings starter Lewis Thorpe absorbed his second loss of the season,

Thorpe went 4 2/3rds innings, allowing seven hits, six runs (all earned), with five walks and the same number of strikeouts.

The series is set to continue Friday night at Frontier Field with Zach Littell getting the start for the Wings. Enye De Los Santosz is set to get the ball for the IronPigs. Game time is 6:05 Friday, with weekend games Saturday and Sunday. Game time those games is 1:05 p.m.

WINGS FLIGHTS – The Minnesota Twins Thursday announced the following roster moves:

ADD: RHP Chase De Jong active after being optioned by Minnesota (on April 10)

CHANGE: RHP DJ Baxendale reinstated from the Injured List

DELETE: RHP Sean Poppen transferred to Double-A Pensacola

Baxendale will wear #30 and De Jong will return to #22. Rochester’s active roster is now full at 25 with three players on the injured list.

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