Josmil Pinto and Chris Rahl homered to pace the Red Wings to a 11-1 win over the Lehigh Valley IronPigs Saturday night at Frontier Field, before a season-high crowd of 12,223.
Starter Logan Darnell walked lead-off batter Leandro Castro to open the game, but a double play and strikeout quickly ended the Lehigh Valley half of the first.
The Red Wings took an early lead in their half of the first against Chris Bootcheck, making his fifth start after beginning the season on the disabled list. Bootcheck struck out Eric Farris, and James Beresford followed with a single. Deibinson Romero doubled on a 1-2 pitch, scoring Beresford for a 1-0 lead.
A walk and an error loaded the bases for Wilkin Ramirez, who was batting .444 (4-for-9) with the bases loaded coming into the game. Ramirez popped out to second base for the second out, butPedro Florimon worked Bootcheck for a walk to force in Romero and the Wings led 2-0.
Bootcheck's third walk of the game moved Beresford to first base in the bottom of the second. Romero singled and Bootcheck hit Chris Colabello with a pitch to load the bases for the Wings. Pinto, who was optioned to Rochester on Thursday, earned his first hit since rejoining the Wings in the form of a grand slam that he blasted into the IronPigs' bullpen to put the Wings' up 6-0. Pinto hit seven home runs this season with the Twins.
Lehigh Valley got on the board in the third inning. Darnell walked Tyler Henson before Tyson Gillies grounded out to first as Henson moved to second. Castro then lined to Florimon, who bobbled the ball, allowing Henson to advance to third. Rusty Ryal's single brought Henson home.
Hector Neris took over on the mound for Lehigh Valley in the Wings' half of the third after Bootcheck gave up five hits and six runs (five earned) in just two innings of work.
The IronPigs looked poised to score again in the top of the fourth as Darnell walked two and Henson singled to load the bases with one out. But the Wings said no; Colabello made an acrobatic leaping catch on Andres Blanco's drive and Darnell struck out Gillies to strand the runners and keep the score 6-1.
Ramirez doubled to left field to lead off the Wings' half of the fifth and advanced to third when Florimon flew out. After Neris had walked Doug Bernier to give the Wings runners on first and third with one out, Rahl smacked a home run to the left field corner to bring his teammates home and extend the lead to 9-1. Neris had not been scored upon in his last four outings (five innings with four strikeouts).
A.J. Achter came in to relieve Darnell in the top of the sixth. The IronPigs did not have an earned run against Darnell who gave up three hits, struck out four, and walked five in five innings. Achter, who had allowed the fewest base runners per nine innings pitched of any reliever in the league going into the game, retired the side in order in the sixth.
Romero and Colabello welcomed reliever Shawn Camp to the game by each hitting a single, but two Wings flyouts and a strikeout would end the inning.
Achter worked three innings in relief of Darnell, and allowed one hit and one walk while striking out three. Achter has now worked 13 2/3 straight scoreless innings.
Aaron Thompson pitched the ninth inning for the Red Wings.
Romero and Ramirez each had three hits for the Wings, who out-hit the IronPigs 12-5.
The series concludes on Father's Day with a 1:05 p.m. contest.