The Rochester Red Wings (10-8), on the strength of six consecutive singles, scored three runs in the bottom of the ninth to upend the Gwinnett Braves (12-7) by a 5-4 score in the finale of their three-game series on Thursday afternoon at Frontier Field.
The G-Braves bullpen collapse prevented a season series win over the Red Wings as the two teams finished even at 3-3.
The bulk of the game was a pitching duel between starters Lucas Sims of Gwinnett and Jason Wheeler of Rochester as both went six scoreless innings to start the afternoon.
But the seventh is where the game changed. Mel Rojas Jr. led off with a single to left and two outs later Sean Kazmar Jr. cracked a two-run homer, his third of the season, off Wheeler for a 2-0 Gwinnett lead.
The Red Wings fired back in the bottom of the seventh as Matt Hague hit a two-run homer to left off Sims to tie the game at 2-2.
In the top of the eighth, David Freitas led off with a single to left off Wheeler and Xavier Avery followed with a double to right to put runners on second and third. The Red Wings called on Watkinsville, GA native Alan Busenitz out of the bullpen, and after getting the first out of the inning, he threw a wild pitch, enabling Freitas to score from third for a 3-2 Gwinnett lead. After a walk by Johan Camargo , Rojas bounced a single to right, scoring Avery to increase the Gwinnett lead to 4-2.
After fine pitching by Sam Freeman and Caleb Dirks kept the Red Wings off the board in the bottom of the eighth, the bottom of the ninth proved fatal for reliever David Peterson.
Peterson, who had picked up the save on Wednesday afternoon, gave up a leadoff single to right to Hague and then a single to right to Daniel Palka. Niko Goodrum followed with a single to center, scoring Hague from second to trim the Gwinnett lead to 4-3. Ben Paulsen followed with a single to right to load the bases. John Ryan Murphy tied the game at 4-4 with a single to right and Bengie Gonzalez got the game winner by dropping a single into left, scoring Goodrum for the 5-4 Red Wings win.
Sims was again superb for Gwinnett. He pitched 7.0 innings with four hits, two earned runs, one walk and three strikeouts. Freeman (H, 2) worked two thirds of an inning with two hits. Dirks (H, 3) went one third of an inning and Peterson (BS, 1) (L, 0-1) gave up the six hits and three runs in the bottom of the ninth.
Wheeler pitched 7.0 innings with six hits, four earned runs, one walk and four strikeouts. Busenitz (W, 2-0) went 2.0 innings with one hit, one walk and one strikeout.
At the plate for Gwinnett, Rojas Jr. was 2-for-4 with a run and an RBI. Kazmar Jr. was 1-for-4 with a run and a two run homer.
For Rochester, Hague was 2-for-4 with a homer, two runs and two RBIs. Murphy was 2-for-4 and Ehire Adrianza went 2-for-3.
The road trip continues for the G-Braves Friday night with game one of a four-game series in Pawtucket, RI against the Red Sox. RHP Aaron Blair (1-1, 5.79) will start for the G-Braves. The Red Sox will have RHP Kyle Kendrick (0-3, 8.10) on the mound. First pitch from McCoy Stadium is set for 6:05 p.m. Tony Schiavone has the play-by-play call on 97.7 FM "The Other Side of the River" beginning at 5:35 p.m.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.