Rochester shortstop Nick Gordon is tagged out by his Buffalo counterpart, Lourdes Gurriel Jr., Monday after over-sliding second base on a steal attempt.
Photo courtesy of Joe Territo, Rochester Red Wings.com
ROCHESTER – As the manager of the Durham Bulls told his team in a scene in the film “Bull Durham” baseball is an easy game. “You throw the ball, you hit the ball, you catch the ball.” A failure to do some of the basics of the game Monday afternoon cost the Rochester Red Wings as they fell 4-2 to the Buffalo Bisons at sunny Frontier Field. It was their fifth loss in a six-game homestand against the Bisons.
Buffalo improved its International League best record to 19-2 when scoring first. Reese McGuire took first base as the leadoff batter in the third inning when he was nicked by a Zack Littell pitch. He appeared to have been picked off by Littell but was ruled safe by first base umpire Alex Tosi. McGuire came around to score after teammates Ian Parmley and Roeman Fields singled to load the bases. Richard Urena, a thorn in Rochester’s side the entire series, then brought McGuire home on a sacrifice fly.
A Memorial Day crowd of 10,213, brought out not only by a beautiful day but by $5 admission and 50 cent hot dogs, saw Rochester tie the game in the fifth inning. Catcher Wynston Sawyer singled with one out and advanced to third when Nick Buss doubled down the line in right. On the previous pitch Buss fouled a ball off his foot and took a few minutes to recover. He appeared to have no problem going from home to second. As did the Bisons, Rochester’s run came on a sacrifice fly, a long drive by Jermain Curtis that drove Parmley to the wall in front of the Rochester dugout.
With the potential go ahead run standing at second, Taylor Featherston struck out to end the fifth.
Buffalo responded immediately with two runs in the top of the sixth. Urena singled and went to third on a double by Dalton Pompey, recently demoted from the Toronto Blue Jays. Cleanup batter and designated hitter Danny Jansen singled to score both runners.
The Red Wings attempted to repeat the Herd’s success in their half of the six. Rookie Nick Gordon, one of the Minnesota Twins top prospects, rapped his third single of the game with one out for Rochester. He went to second on a Jake Cave single. When McGuire’s pickoff attempt to retire Cave at first got away from John Leblebijian, Gordon moved easily into third. Chris Carter was then hit by a pitch to load the bases. Kennys Vargas hit a line drive to right for the second out, but it was enough to allow Gordon to score.
Sawyer struck out though to end the threat.
The Herd tacked on an insurance run in the eighth inning off Rochester reliever Tyler Duffey. Pompey singled as did Jansen. A swinging bunt by Lourdes Gurriel Jr. advanced the runners and then Duffey hit Leblebijian with a pitch to load the bases. McGuire was credited with the RBI when his sacrifice fly to right allowed Pompey to score. Buffalo reliever Justin Shaffer earned his fourth save of the season when he retired the minimum six batters faced in the eighth and ninth innings.
One of the basics of the game that hurt the Wings Monday afternoon occurred in the bottom of the eighth. Cave walked to open the inning but was caught too far off base when Carter’s line drive was caught by Buffalo shortstop Gurriel. The throw to Leblebijian beat Cave back to the base. Another basic blunder occurred in Rochester’s half of the first inning when Gordon reached safely on his first single. He appeared to have second base stolen, but his over-slide of the bag allowed Gurriel to tag him out.
Ryan Borucki pitched six innings to pick up his fourth win against five losses. Littell took the loss, to even his Triple-A record at 1-1. He came to Rochester with a mark of 0-3 from Double-A Chattanooga.
Wings manager Joel Skinner said his team played a good game Monday, “but we just fell short. A couple of good swings did us in.” As for Cave’s base running error, Skinner commented, “He was too far off the base. You don’t want to put yourself in that situation.” As for some of the other miscues, the first-year leader of the Wings remarked, “The execution was not always what you want it to be.”
Rochester was flying to Durham to meet up with the real Bulls in a three-game series through Thursday before moving on to Norfolk for three more. The team is off Monday, June 4 before opening a six game homestand on June 5, split evenly between Indianapolis and Durham.
WINGS TIPS – On 50 cent hot dog day, fans purchased 11,162 Zweigle’s hots.
Nick Gordon is a brother of Seattle Mariners outfielder Dee Gordon. They are the sons of former MLB pitcher Tom Gordon. Chris Carter was acquired by the Twins May 22 from the Angels in a cash transaction. He began the season in the Pacific Coast League with Salt Lake where he had a slash line of .255/.333/.600. He had nine doubles, a triple, 13 homers, 43 RBI and 29 runs scored. He walked 16 times but struck out 49 times in 39 games. Two years ago, Carter struck 41 home runs for the Milwaukee Brewers, tying Nolan Arenado for the NL lead.