'Pigs, Wings hold unofficial HR derby

IL teams combine for 38 runs, 43 hits, 15 homers in matinee

Dylan Cozens hit two of the 15 long balls in Saturday's matinee, registering his 16th career multi-homer game. (Andy Grosh/MiLB.com)

By Joe Bloss / MiLB.com | April 14, 2019 12:38 AM

Dinger, tater, shot. Roundtripper, long ball, smash. Four bagger. Moon shot. However many entries exist in the Home Run thesaurus, the IronPigs and Red Wings apparently wanted more.

The teams combined for 43 hits, including 15 homers, as Triple-A Lehigh Valley outslugged Rochester, 20-18, on Saturday afternoon at Frontier Field, where a 23 mph wind blew out toward left field.

Video: IronPigs' Rodriguez smacks second homer

Their three-hour, 55-minute slugfest smashed the ballpark's previous single-game record of eight combined homers. It matched the venue's single-game record for runs set on April 29, 2004, when a Buffalo Bisons team that included Grady Sizemore topped a Red Wings squad that featured Justin Morneau, 25-13.

Ten different hitters went yard, and only two of the 10 pitchers used avoided contributing to that total.

Tweet from @RocRedWings: Here's 15 homers...from 10 different players...that traveled a combined 1.1 MILES (5,919 feet)!!!!!!!🤯🤯🤯 pic.twitter.com/f7bIXrgWdm

Lehigh Valley's Jan Hernandez struck first, launching a three-run jack to right field off Rochester starter Chase De Jong in the third. Mitch Walding added a solo shot, his third homer of the season, three batters later. The Red Wings answered in the bottom of the frame when Wynston Sawyer and Zander Wiel victimized 'Pigs starter Ranger Suarez. Catcher Wilin Rosario crushed a big fly in the fourth, and the Red Wings took a 10-5 lead into the fifth.

Gameday box score

On the second pitch of the inning, Dylan Cozens ripped a downtowner to center field to send an unnecessary reminder that no lead was safe. He and Andrew Romine went back-to-back, then did so again in the sixth but not before Sean Rodriguez joined the fun with his first tater of the year.

A relative respite followed as the 3,983 in attendance did not witness a home run in the bottom of the sixth or the top of the seventh. How bland.

2019 MiLB include

Twins No. 6 prospect Brent Rooker restarted the derby when he took Yacksel Rios deep to center to knot the game at 14-14 in the bottom of the seventh. With Lehigh Valley reliever Josh Martin on the mound in the eighth, Wiel and Ronald Torreyes belted two more long balls.

Someone had to supply the last blast, and Hernandez -- the one who hit the first -- became a contender when he tied the game with a solo swat in the ninth. But Rodriguez earned the honor when he crushed the game-winner, a three-run shot in the 10th off D.J. Baxendale (0-1). It proved too much to overcome, even when the Red Wings fired back with a run off Edubray Ramos. The right-hander got the save, preserving Martin's first win of the season.

It was, of course, the IronPigs' best offensive showing in quite a while. The nine homers shattered the old franchise record of five. The 20 runs were their most since June 11, 2016. But the 18 runs allowed were the most surrendered since June 16, 2017.

Joe Bloss is a contributor to MiLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @jtbloss. This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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