COLUMBUS- The Rochester Red Wings must not have been informed that the Triple-A Homerun Derby is more than two months away.
Powered by five longballs, the Red Wings cruised past the Columbus Clippers Saturday with an 8-2 victory.
“We left some pitches up and it was just one of those nights,” Clippers manager Chris Tremie
said. “Learn from it and move on.”
Four of the homeruns came off the bats of designated hitter Jeff Clement
and center fielder Clete Thompson. The two shared identical offensive nights, going 2-5 with a pair of homers and 3 RBI a piece.
Tremie said the sluggers will take advantage of any mistakes thrown at them.
“They (Clement and Thompson) don’t miss them often,” Tremie said. “They’re good hitters. If you leave a pitch up or hang one out over the plate and you’re behind in the count, you’re going to get hurt.”
Columbus got off to a head start with an early 1-0 lead.
In the first inning, third baseman Ryan Rohlinger
whacked a double off the center field wall and right fielder Jeremy Hermida
followed by lining a single past diving second basemen Eric Farris
The single extended Hermida’s on-base streak to 15 games, which tied him with outfielder Tim Fedroff
for the longest such streak this season.
“He’s been swinging the bat well,” Tremie said. “He’s been laying off off-speed pitches down and away. He’s doing a better job of hitting the ball up in the zone. He’s getting a pitch to hit and putting a good swing on it. He’s been hot lately.”
Rochester responded with a run of their own in the following inning to tie the score.
First baseman Chris Colabello
led off by doubling high off the wall in right and advanced to third on a groundout by Clement. In the next at-bat, right fielder Evan Bigley
bounced a ball back to right-hander Toru Murata
who threw to third and caught Colabello in a rundown. Third baseman Brian Dinkelman
followed by blooping a single to center and Bigley made his way for the plate.
Center fielder Matt Carson
had a chance to gun the runner down but his throw was offline and resulted in an even 1-1 score.
The Red Wings tacked on two more runs in the top of the fourth thanks to a dinger by designated hitter Jeff Clement.
With one down, Colabello singled past diving first baseman Cord Phelps
. Clement then rocketed a homer to right that bounced of the second-tier railing and put the Red Wings ahead 3-1.
In the sixth inning, Colabello homered off the Kroger sign on scoreboard in right field to increase his team’s lead to 4-1.
The Clippers retaliated in the bottom half of the inning with a another run but wasted an opportunity to add more.
Rohlinger started things off by roping a double down left field line. Hermida then smacked an RBI single through short to cut the lead to 4-2.
Phelps poked a base hit into right field to move Hermida to third but the promising-looking inning ended there.
Carson hit a soft bouncer to short. Hermida bolted for home but was caught in rundown and eventually tagged out. Second baseman Matt Lawson
flew out to deep right field and left fielder Adam Abraham
followed with a strikeout to end the inning.
With three monster shots in the seventh, eighth and ninth innings, Rochester made it an 8-2 ballgame.
In the seventh, A solo shot off the bottom of the scoreboard in right by Thomas made it 5-2 Red Wings. Clement then scorched his second homer of the night over the right field wall in the eighth. Thomas capped it all off with a towering two-run bomb to right that landed onto Nationwide Blvd.
Murata (0-2, 6.00 ERA) suffered the loss for the Clippers. He allowed seven hits (two homeruns), four earned-runs, struck out four batters and walked another two in his six innings of work.
“He battled and kept us in the game,” Tremie said. “You know, he gave everything he had. He left a couple pitches up and they put some good swings on them and it ended up costing him because he gave up homeruns rather than singles.”
Left-hander David Huff
came on after Murata and gave up the homeruns in the seventh and eighth innings, while righty Rob Bryson
surrendered the final homer in the ninth.
Rochester right-hander Liam Hendriks
(1-2, 4.37 ERA) picked up his first win of the season after pitching six innings of seven-hit baseball, allowing just two earned-runs with five punch outs and no walks.
Columbus falls to 15-14 with the loss and Rochester improves to 12-17.
The Clippers will conclude their series with the Red Wings Sunday at Huntington Park. Right-hander Carlos Carrasco
(0-0, 2.04 ERA) will get the call for Columbus and will duke it out with Rochester righty Virgil Vasquez
(2-1, 4.28 ERA). The first pitch is slated for 1:05 p.m.