Chris Colabello's seventh inning home run helped to rally the Red Wings to a 5-4 win over the Pawtucket Red Sox Saturday afternoon at Frontier Field. Caleb Thielbar's three scoreless relief innings helped keep the Wings within striking distance after trailing early 3-0; the teams meet Sunday afternoons in a 12:05 p.m. doubleheader, with two seven-inning games.
Saturday had wintry conditions at game time, with light flurries, wind and 39 temperatures. Wings rookie lefty Andrew Albers retired lead-off batter Jackie Bradley, Jr., but then allowed a pair of singles and a walk to load the bases. When Albers followed with a walk to Bryce Brentz, he forced in a run for an early 1-0 Pawtucket lead. Brandon Snyder followed with a bloop single to right field, plating a pair to make it 3-0 PawSox. But a strikeout and a fly out ended the inning.
Pawtucket started knuckleballer Charlie Haeger, a last minute switch from the original scheduled starter Allen Webster. Haeger breezed through the first two innings, allowing just a single to Clete Thomas. Albers, however, needed 63 pitches to get through the first two innings - and that was the end of his afternoon, with Thielbar taking over on the mound to begin the third inning. Thielbar had a easy third inning, setting the Red Sox down in order while striking out two.
The Wings cut into the Red Sox lead in the bottom of the third. Mark Sobolewski singled, followed by an error on Red Sox first baseman Brandon Snyder to allow Doug Bernier to reach first. That gave the Wings men on first and second with no outs. Following two deep fly ball outs, Clete Thomas lined a single to left to score Sobolewski from second. Colabello singled up the middle to score Bernier, to make the score 3-2 Red Sox. Both of the Wings runs were unearned in the inning.
The Wings had a productive fifth inning, which began when Bernier singled to right. Eric Farris walked to give men on first and second with no outs. Chris Herrmann bunted to move the runners over, and Haeger's throwing error allowed Bernier to score, tying the game at 3-3. Thomas walked to load the bases, still with no outs. The Wings couldn't capitalize to take the lead after a popout, groundout, and strikeout ended the inning with the bases loaded.
Shairon Martis (1-1) took over in the top of the sixth for Thielbar, who pitched excellent in relief, striking out three and giving up no runs in three innings of work. The first batter Martis faced, Jose Iglesias, hit a home run to give the lead back to the Red Sox, 4-3.
Haeger pitched five innings giving up three runs, but none of those runs were earned.
In the bottom of the sixth Joe Benson singled against reliever Pedro Beato (1-1 to lead off the inning. Bernier was hit by a pitch on the arm. After a pickoff attempt to second went into the outfield, Benson moved over to third. Farris hit a sacrifice fly to center to score Benson to tie the game at 4-4.
In the bottom of the seventh the Wings finally took the lead after hit a line drive home run to left to make the score 5-4.
Tim Wood came into relief in the top of the eighth for Martis. Martis pitched two innings, giving up one run. Wood struck out two in his perfect relief inning.
Anthony Slama pitched a perfect ninth inning for Rochester, recording his second save of the season.