Clete Thomas drove in five runs, and Chris Colabello had four hits to lead the Red Wings to a wild, windy 14-5 win over Buffalo Sunday afternoon at Frontier Field. The two teams combined for 93 hits in the season opening, four-game series. The Wings travel to Scranton/Wilkes-Barre and Pawtucket for eight days starting Monday, and return home to host those teams beginning Monday, April 15.
Rochester starter Virgil Vazquez was making his first Triple-A start since 2010, after spending the past two seasons pitching in independent leagues. Vazquez, who brought a career 37-23 career Triple-A record into Sunday's game, allowed just a single in a scoreless first inning against the Bisons; Buffalo came into the game as the league's best hitting team so far.
The Wings jumped out to an early lead against Tyler Brummett. Brian Dinkelman, batting leadoff for the first time this season, singled off Brummett (0-1) to begin the bottom of the first. It was the start of an inning in which the Wings batted around, racking up just three hits and taking advantage of three walks, a wild pitch and an error. It all added up to a 5-0 lead, and a a first inning exit for Brummett after he threw 38 pitches.
After getting two quick outs in the second inning, Eugenio Velez connected off Vazquez (1-0) for a long home run over the Power Alley Grille party suite to get the Bisons on the scoreboard. Jim Negrych followed with a homer, to make it a 5-2 game
The Wings continued their great start in the bottom of the second inning when Brandon Boggs singled and Oswaldo Arcia doubled to score Boggs from first. Colabello hit a two-run home to deep center field which brought in Arcia, making the lead 8-2. The Wings added two more runs and batted around again, to take a 10-2 lead.
Through five innings, Vazquez had allowed five hits but three were solo home runs. Andy LaRoche connected in the fourth inning, which made the score 10-3.
Boggs hit his first home run of the season off Mickey Storey in the bottom of the fifth inning, a shot off the ESL Federal Credit Union sign on the right field scoreboard.
Vazquez went six innings, giving up eight hits and four runs which were all home runs, the last coming in the top of the sixth by LaRoche, his second of the game.
Mike O'Connor came in to replace Vazquez in the top of the seventh, giving up a run to make the score 11-5.
The hits kept coming for the Wings when Colabello got his fourth hit of the day in the bottom of the seventh. The next batter, Thomas, hit a three-run home run to right center field extending the lead to 14-5.
O'Connor struck out three in two relief innings, and Anthony Slama pitched a scoreless ninth for Rochester.