Cody Grice drove in six runs, and the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders held off the Red Wings 10-7 Wednesday night at Frontier Field. Doug Bernier had three hits and four RBI for the Wings. The series concludes with a 7:05 p.m. game Thursday night here with a summer kick-off event featuring post-game fireworks, and another Knot Hole Gang Kids' Club game.
Liam Hendriks returned to the mound for the Red Wings on Wednesday for the first time since May 9, having missed the last 37 games on the disabled list May 12 with right elbow inflammation. The RailRiders got things going early, when lead-off batter Walter Ibarra doubled down the third base line, just out of the reach of diving third baseman Deibinson Romero. J.R. Murphy followed with a single just over the head of second baseman James Beresford, and a sacrifice fly by Fernando Martinez gave Scranton a 1-0 lead. Dan Johnson blooped a single to left that brought home another run, and the RailRiders led 2-0.
Grice dealt the biggest blow of the inning, a two-out grand slam that expanded the lead to 6-0. It was Scranton's first grand slam of the season.
The RailRiders had rookie Jose Ramirez on the mound Wednesday, making just his second Triple-A start. He got some first inning help from second baseman Ibarra, who made a diving stop of a certain base hit by Chris Colabello with Chris Herrmann on base. The Wings managed to put runners at first and second with two outs in the first, then Ramirez issued his second walk of the inning to load the bases. Dan Rohlfing waited out Ramirez and, after working the count to 3-2, took ball four to bring in a run for Rochester. Bernier drilled a 2-1 pitch for a single to bring in another run, and make it a 6-2 game after one inning.
Hendriks (1-4) appeared to settle down in the second inning, going 1-2-3 through the opposing lineup. The Wings nearly added a run in the bottom of the frame. After a successful bunt single from Antoan Richardson, the speedy outfielder stole second and was moved to third on a Herrmann ground out. Ramirez walked Colabello, but then caught Romero looking at strike three to end the inning.
Rochester sliced another pair of runs out of the early deficit in the bottom of the third. Beresford and Drew Butera each drove in a run with a base hit off of Scranton/Wilkes-Barre reliever Jim Miller, who replaced Ramirez after 2.1 innings. Ramirez allowed three runs on three hits with four walks and two strikeouts. The Red Wings left runners on first and third after Richardson flew out and Herrmann struck out against Miller.
Ibarra pushed the RailRiders' to 7-4 with a solo home run into the Red Wings' bullpen in right field in the top of the fourth. Hendriks danced around a pair of singles from Murphy and Randy Ruiz by inducing a foul fly out from Johnson to Romero near the RailRiders' dugout for the final out of the inning.
The long ball helped the RailRiders regain a six-run advantage in the fifth and sixth innings. With a runner on first base, Grice smoked his second homer of the game out of the ballpark, earning his fifth and sixth RBI of the contest. Murphy then led off the sixth with a solo homer to give his team a 10-6 lead. Both homer runs were against Pedro Hernandez, who took the mound in relief of Hendriks to start the fifth inning. Hernandez responded to strike out two each in the sixth and seventh innings.Hendriks allowed seven runs on nine hits with only one strikeout in four full innings of work, earning his fourth loss of the season.
The Red Wings put up little fight against Scranton/Wilkes-Barre reliever Dellin Betances. Betances worked three consecutive 1-2-3 innings, retiring the first nine Red Wings he faced in the fifth, sixth and seventh innings. RailRiders pitchers retired 13 Wings batters in a row until Herrmann doubled to lead off the bottom of the ninth; the hit extended Herrmann's hit streak to 10 games.
Rochester loaded the bases with two outs in the ninth against Josh Spence. Bernier lofted a bases clearing triple down the right field line to make it a 10-7 game. Pinch-hitter Ray Olmedo walked, which brought Butera to the plate as the potential tying run. Butera lofted a high fly to center field that was tracked down for the final out.