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Long Balls Lift Red Wings Over RailRiders

Blankenhorn, Cluff, Millas Go Deep, Rochester Picks up Second-Straight Win
May 7, 2024

After splitting a series with Syracuse at three games apiece, the Rochester Red Wings picked up a win in their series opening contest at Scranton/WB, 8-5. 1B Travis Blankenhorn, SS Jackson Cluff, and C Drew Millas each went deep to propel an offense that combined for 10 total hits. The

After splitting a series with Syracuse at three games apiece, the Rochester Red Wings picked up a win in their series opening contest at Scranton/WB, 8-5. 1B Travis Blankenhorn, SS Jackson Cluff, and C Drew Millas each went deep to propel an offense that combined for 10 total hits. The Wings pitching staff combined to hold the RailRiders offense to just three earned runs, including 1.1 and 1.2 hitless innings in relief from LHP Tim Cate and RHP Adonis Medina.

The Red Wings offense came out of the gates fast, kicked off by back-to-back singles from LF Darren Baker and CF James Wood, setting runners up on the corners with no outs. Rehabbing DH Joey Gallo then grounded a dribbler to the right side and reached base on an error that allowed Baker to score. A throwing error on the same play allowed Gallo to move to second and Wood to score, putting the Red Wings up 2-0 early in the contest. With still no outs in the inning, Travis Blankenhorn launched a 1-2 fastball 377 feet deep over the right field fence for his team-leading 10th home run of the season, doubling the Red Wings lead to 4-0 before the RailRiders came to bat. His 10 homers are tied for the second-most in the International League.

After a scoreless bottom of the first, Scranton/WB responded in the second. C Carlos Narvaez worked a walk to lead off the inning, and two batters later RF Oscar Gonzalez singled through the right side to put two runners on. With one out, 3B Josh VanMeter then reached on an error that allowed Narvaez to score and Gonzalez to reach third, putting the RailRiders on the board. Former Red Wing SS Jeter Downs followed suit with a sacrifice fly to make it a 4-2 game heading to the third.

The Red Wings’ bats came alive again in the top of the fourth, when RF Stone Garrett and Jackson Cluff both singled to start the inning. Cluff later stole second to set the Red Wings up with runners on second and third with two outs. Down to his last strike, Darren Baker laced a sinker into center field that scored Garrett and Cluff to increase their lead to 6-2.

The RailRiders cut into the lead in the bottom half of the inning, led off by a double from Downs. After a ground out advanced Downs to third base, 2B Caleb Durbin drove a ball to center field for a single, cutting the lead to 6-3.

Jackson Cluff found the outfield seats in the top of the sixth inning, when he launched a 1-0 cutter into right field for a solo homer to add to the Red Wings’ lead, 7-3. This was Cluff’s second home run of the season, and is the first time in his career that he’s homered two times in three games.

After both sides came away scoreless in the seventh, Drew Millas led off the eighth with his third home run of the season, a solo shot that traveled 351 feet into the home bullpen in left field. He has now logged an extra-base hit in four of his last seven games dating back to game one of a doubleheader on April 27 at St. Paul. This put the Red Wings up 8-3, a lead they would take into the bottom of the ninth inning.

Down five runs in their final turn at bat, LF Luis Gonzalez led off the inning with his second double of the game. He then came around to score on a single up the middle from Caleb Durbin, who moved into scoring position on a wild pitch the next at-bat. 1B T.J. Rumfield then doubled off the glove of a diving Darren Baker, allowing Durbin to come around to score and trim the lead to 8-5. Back-to-back outs ended the rally, and sealed a three-run Rochester win.

RHP Spenser Watkins made his fifth start (7th appearance) with Rochester this season. The Arizona native allowed one earned run on four hits, while walking three and striking out three RailRiders over 4.0 innings. This was Watkins’ fifth straight start of at least 4.0 innings. The right-hander turned the ball over to southpaw Tim Cate in the fifth. Cate threw a perfect 1.2 innings in relief while striking out four of the five batters he faced. The scoreless outing for the lefty marks his third appearance in a row without allowing a run. Adonis Medina would be next out of the bullpen for the Red Wings. The right-hander turned in 1.1 hitless innings of his own, while striking out one. This lowered his ERA to 1.76 (3 ER/15.1 IP) on the season, best among all Wings pitchers (min. 10.0 IP). LHP Richard Bleier entered in the eighth inning and pitched 1.1 innings, allowing two earned on five hits. Bleier turned the ball over to RHP Rico Garcia with one out in the ninth, and the right-hander retired two consecutive batters with one strikeout to end the game and secure his third save of the season.

Tuesday evening's Diamond Pro Player of the Game goes to SS Jackson Cluff. The Nationals 2019 sixth round pick finished the night 2-for-4 with his second homer of the season, a stolen base and two runs scored. His homer in the sixth came off the bat at 105.8 MPH, the hardest-hit home run by a Red Wing middle infielder since Jordy Barley on September 6, 2023 (105.9 MPH).

The Red Wings look to push their winning streak to three games, and win the first two games of a series at PNC Field since April 29 & 30 in 2019 on Wednesday afternoon. LHP DJ Herz will get the start for Rochester, facing RailRiders right-hander and New York Yankees No. 13 prospect RHP Clayton Beeter.

First pitch is set for 11:05 am.

Find the box score attached here.