Despite a 2-11 start to the 2013 season, the Red Wings are returning to the playoffs for the first time since 2006.
Eduardo Escobar had four hits and drove in five runs, leading the Red Wings to a 13-3 win over the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders Monday at Frontier Field. Norfolk lost 1-0 to Durham in 10 innings Monday, so the Red Wings take the wild card spot by tie-breaker and will face the Pawtucket Red Sox at 7:05 p.m. at Frontier Field on Wednesday night.
PLAYOFF TICKET INFORMATION:
Games One and Two of the International League Governors' Cup Playoffs first round will be Wednesday and Thursday, September 4-5 at 7:05 p.m. at Frontier Field. Tickets went on sale after Monday's game until 6 p.m. at the Frontier Field Ticket Office, and by phone at (585) 423-WING (9464). Tickets will go back on sale Tuesday morning at 9 a.m at the Frontier Field Ticket Office, and by phone at (585) 423-WING (9464). Online ordering will be available on Tuesday. Season seat holders have until 5 p.m. Tuesday to purchase their seats for the Sept. 4-5 home games.
Veteran big league outfielder Corey Patterson jumped on the second pitch he saw from Scott Diamond and deposited it over the wall in right field for an early 1-0 RailRiders' lead.
Scranton starter Caleb Cotham came into Monday's game with either a win or a no decision over his last 10 starts, and the RailRiders had won the last seven games Cotham had started. On Monday, The Red Wings quickly off-set the Patterson home run, and then some.
Antoan Richardson started the Rochester first by taking a Cotham pitch off the foot. James Beresford drilled a double to the gap in left-center, putting runners at second and third. That's when Escobar doubled to right field, scoring both runners and putting the Wings ahead 2-1.
Chris Parmelee followed with a single, and Jeff Clement lined an RBI single to plate Escobar and give the home team a 3-1 edge. Aaron Hicks walked to load the bases, and a sacrifice fly by Eric Farris brought in another run and the Wings led 4-1. Ray Olmedo's single made it 5-1.
With two outs in the first, Richardson lined a single to left that brought home Hicks and Rochester had batted around while jumping out to a 6-1 lead. Beresford's second hit of the inning padded the lead to 7-1. Escobar hit his second two-run double of the inning, making the score 9-1, and marking the end of Cotham's day. Jim Miller was summoned from the Scranton bullpen to take over on the mound, and got a fly out to end the eight-hit, nine-run inning.
After a long break watching his teammates rack up nine runs, Diamond needed just five pitches to retire the RailRiders in the second inning. Diamond was helped by a nice defensive play by Beresford, who ranged far to his right to snag a ground ball hit by Alberto Gonzales.
The Wings loaded the bases with two outs in the second inning, thanks in part to a ground rule double from Olmedo. But Miller got a fly ball out from Richardson to escape the jam.
Scranton loaded the bases in the top of the third inning after three straight singles off Diamond. A Brent Lillibridge single drove in two runs to make it a 9-3 game with two runners on, but the next batter quickly added another footnote to this memorable Red Wings season.
Adonis Garcia grounded sharply to Olmedo at third base, and Olmedo stepped on the bag for the first out. Olmedo threw to Beresford at second base for the second out, and Beresford's quick relay to first base beat Garcia to complete the triple play. Rochester's last triple play was also turned at Frontier Field, with Gil Velazquez and Garrett Jones combining for the outs.
Escobar added to his big day with a one-out home run in the third inning; it was Escobar's third homer in his last nine games. A single by Farris later in the inning brought in another run, and prompted a pitching change with Matt Daley relieving Miller on the mound for Scranton. Olmedo greeted Daley with an infield single off the glove of Lillibridge at first base, and Rochester led 12-3. It was Olmedo's third hit of the game.
Diamond (4-0) allowed seven hits and three earned runs, with two walks and two strikeouts. Virgil Vasquez did not allow a hit in the eighth and ninth innings.
Eric Fryer hit his fifth home run of the season in the eighth inning to extend the lead to 13-3.
When Olmedo caught a pop up from Bobby Wilson in foul territory at 3:42 p.m., the victory and playoff spot was secured.
Olmedo and Richardson each finished with three hits, as part of a 18-hit Rochester offense. It tied the single game high for hits in a game by the Wings (Aug. 23 vs. Indianapolis).
NOTES: Eduardo Escobar extended his hitting streak to nine games with his important first inning double...The nine-run first inning Monday was a team high for the season, passing the seven-run seventh inning July 28 against Norfolk at Frontier Field. The eight hits in the first inning topped the first inning at Gwinnett June 7, when the Wings amassed seven hits....Chris Colabello finished as the top hitter in the International League with a .352 average in 89 games. Jeff Konernus of Syracuse was second coming into play Monday, batting .316...Andrew Albers was fifth in the league with a 2.86 ERA... Josmil Pinto made his Major League debut on Sunday with the Twins, going 2-for-4 with a double, one RBI and one run scored to help Minnesota top Texas 4-2.
WINGS, PARTNERS HELPING THE COMMUNITY
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This Day in Red Wings History: 1984 - Rochester was swept in a double header against Syracuse. The losses (No. 86 and 87) clinched the worst record in modern history for the Red Wings... 2005 - Red Wings manager Phil Roof rejoined the club Friday night for the last home series of the season, and watched the Red Wings pound out 16 hits in a 14-6 win over the Syracuse SkyChiefs.
This Day in IL Baseball History: 1998 - Indianapolis first baseman Roberto Petagine is named the International League's Most Valuable Player for the second consecutive season, becoming the first player to be so honored in back-to-back years. In 1997, Petagine earned the award as a member of the Norfolk Tides after hitting .317 with 31 HR and 100 RBI. Following an offseason trade by the Mets to Cincinnati, Petagine was assigned to Indianapolis. Playing in just 102 games before a late-summer promotion, the left-handed slugger hit .331 with 24 HR and 109 RBI for the Indians. He also led the IL in on-base percentage (.436). The only other player in league history to win multiple MVP honors was Rocky Nelson, who was named Most Valuable Player three times (1953, 1955, 1958).
Born On This Day: 1948 - Terry Bradshaw... 1951 - Mark Harmon... 1973 - Kat Williams
It Happened This Day in Baseball: 1959 - Throwing only nine pitches in his appearance, Tigers' right-handed reliever Jim Bunning strikes out the side in the top of the ninth inning of the team's 5-4 loss to Boston at Briggs Stadium. Sammy White, Jim Mahoney and Ike Delock are the victims of the future Hall of Famer's immaculate inning... 1986- The Astros and Cubs use a major league record 53 players in the game. Billy Hatcher's home run off Greg Maddux in the top of the 18th inning is the difference in Houston's 8-7 victory at Wrigley Field... 1999 - Setting off a very enthusiastic ovation at Camden Yards, Cal Ripken, Jr. becomes the 29th major leaguer to hit 400 career home runs. The Oriole third baseman connects off Devil Rays' right-hander Rolando Arrojo... 2006 - At Tropicana Field, the Devil Rays' second triple play in franchise history is the first ever in the annals of the game in which the ball never touched the bat. The 2-6-2 triple killing occurs when Raul Ibanez strikes out on a 3-2 pitch, then Adrian Beltre is thrown out attempting to steal second by catcher Dioner Navarro, with shortstop Ben Zobrist returning the ball to the plate to nail Jose Lopez trying to score from third.
#1 Song On This Day: 1973 - Marvin Gaye "Let's Get It On"... 1989 - Paula Abdul "Cold Hearted"... 2003 - Nelly, P. Diddy and Murphy Lee "Shake Ya Tailfeather"