P. J. Walters allowed just one run in six innings, and Joe Benson and Nate Hanson had key hits to help the Red Wings defeat the Columbus Clippers 5-4 on Sunday afternoon at Frontier Field. The series concludes with a 7:05 p.m. game Monday night; the first 500 kids 12 & under will receive a free hot dog, soda & snack item.
The Clippers struck first with a solo home run from Ezequiel Carrera on the first pitch of the game. Rochester starter Walters responded by forcing the next two batters to line out and ground out to second respectively. However, he loaded the bases by sandwiching a hit batter between two walks. Red Wings center fielder Benson ended the threat by making a leaping grab in center field for the final out of the first.
Walters (4-2) settled in after giving up the leadoff homer in the first. He struck out two Clippers in a 1-2-3 top of the fourth. He caught Ryan Rohlinger looking at strike three before retiring Juan Diaz for back-to-back K's. Walters retired eight straight Clippers between the third and sixth innings. He allowed four hits in six full innings of work, earning his second win of the season over the Clippers in his fifth consecutive quality start.
Second baseman Eric Farris extended his hitting streak to a season-high six games with a single in the fifth following a walk to Ray Olmedo, putting multiple runners on the bases for the first time in the contest. The Red Wings left both runners on the bases when Doug Bernier ended the inning with his second consecutive strikeout. Columbus starter Danny Salazar, making his Triple-A debut, pitched five innings, allowing only two hits and striking out five.
Rochester finally broke into the run column with a five-run sixth inning against Columbus reliever Scott Barnes. Jeff Clement and Chris Colabello began the frame with back-to-back singles. Brian Dinkelman moved both runners into scoring position with a sacrifice bunt. In the next at bat, Hanson collected his second hit of the day and a pair of RBIs with a single into left field, giving the Red Wings a 2-1 advantage. Hanson later scored Rochester's third run on a bloop single into shallow left field from Farris. Barnes (2-1) was replaced by Matt Langwell after only two-thirds of an inning. The first batter Langwell faced, Benson, drove in a pair of runs with a double off the wall in right center, extending the lead to 5-1.
In relief of Walters, left-hander Tyler Robertson notched two strikeouts in the seventh. He retired Omir Santos to begin the inning and Matt LaPorta to end it.
The Clippers reduced their deficit to two runs in the top of the eighth. A walk to Hermida and singles from Rohlinger and Diaz loaded the bases. Santos drove in Hermida with a single and kept the bags full. Rohlinger crossed home on fielder's choice from Carrera, who avoided the double play on a close call at first. Carrera was caught stealing second to end the inning.
Luis Perdomo was called upon in the top of the ninth to close out the victory, earning his fourth save of the season. After retiring the leadoff batter on a called strike three, Perdomo struggled with his command. He loaded the bases with a walk to Phelps, a single to LaPorta, and another walk to Hermida. His third walk of the frame forced home a run, cutting the Rochester lead to 5-4. Rohlinger grounded into a double play to end the game.