Pedro Florimon had three hits and three RBI, and a solid relief job from Logan Darnell boosted the Rochester Red Wings past the Syracuse Chiefs 6-3 Thursday night in Syracuse. With Buffalo winning and Pawtucket headed for a win Thursday night, the Wings remain two games out of the wild card spot.
The Wings return home Friday night to host Buffalo for the final two home games of the regular season.
Syracuse starter Taylor Hill came into Thursday's game with the second best ERA in the league (2.86); he also brought a pair of wins and two no decisions in his four starts against the Wings this season. Hill set down the side in order in the top of the first.
Red Wings righty Virgil Vasquez was coming off a career-best 11-strikeout game August 23, in just his third start for Rochester after spending most of this season at Double-A New Britain. Vasquez had walked a total of two over his last six starts but walked a pair in the first inning Thursday. Vasquez worked around the walks to get out of the inning without allowing a run.
Chris Colabello reached first on an Emmanuel Burriss error in the second inning. After reaching second base on a Daniel Ortiz groundout, Rochester took advantage of the Burriss mishap as Florimon hit a line drive single to left-center, allowing Collabello to score.
With two outs in the bottom of the third, Michael Taylor was walked by Vasquez and stole second base. Steven Souza, Jr. drove Taylor in with an RBI single as the Chiefs tied the game 1-1.
Will Rhymes tripled with one out in the bottom of the fourth and scored on the next play as Jhonatan Solano hit a single to take the 2-1 lead over the Red Wings.
The Wings got a two-out hit by Doug Bernier, then Chris Rahl reached on an error in the fifth, but Hill retired Eric Farris on a flyball out to end the scoring bid.
Vasquez worked four innings, throwing 92 pitches - 55 for strikes. He allowed five hits and two earned runs, while walking four and striking out five. Darnell took over on the mound for the Wings in the bottom of the fifth inning.
Chris Herrmann homered for the second straight game, drilling a solo shot in the top of the sixth inning off Hill to tie the game at 2-2.
After Darnell retired the side for the second straight inning, the Wings went back ahead of the Chiefs. Hill (11-7) walked Ortiz to open the seventh inning, and Ortiz went to third on a single from Florimon. Bernier followed with a long flyball to right-center, more than deep enough to bring home Ortiz and make it 3-2 Wings. Rahl singled, and the Chiefs went to the bullpen and brought in Matt Grace. Farris greeted Grace with an opposite field single, with Florimon scoring when right fielder Souza bobbled the ball. The play put the Wings up 4-2.
Hill's line for the game: 6 1/3 innings, allowing seven hits, four runs (two earned) and a walk while striking out two. Hill threw 84 pitches, 61 for strikes.
In the eighth against Ryan Mattheus, the Wings added some insurance runs. Colabello and Ortiz hit two-out singles, and Florimon brought them both home with a stand-up triple that pushed the lead to 6-2.
Brandon Laird hit his 17th homer of the season off Darnell (7-6) in the eighth, a two-out shot that made the score 6-3. Pryor took over for Darnell on the mound, and struck out Destin Hood for the third out. The homer by Laird was the only hit Darnell allowed in 3 2/3 relief innings.
Pryor got two quick outs in the ninth before putting himself in a jam, allowing a single and a walk to bring the potential tying run to the plate in Taylor. The Wings brought in Michael Tonkin to replace Pryor, and Tonkin got two quick strikes before walking Taylor to load the bases. League MVP Souza stepped in, and worked another full count before grounding out to second to end the game. Tonkin recorded his 10th save for the Wings.
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