The Red Wings will bring a little momentum with them back to Rochester as they begin a four-game series against the Norfolk Tides at Frontier Field Saturday night.
Trailing 4-0 after six innings Friday, the Wings seemed well on the way to their sixth loss in eight games on their three-city North division road trip. However, Brad Nelson delivered a two-out, bases clearing double in the eighth inning to propel the Wings past the Lehigh Valley IronPigs, 6-5, at Coca-Cola Park in Allentown, PA.
The Wings (44-37) split the two-game set with Lehigh Valley and picked up a game is both the division and wild card races in the process. The Red Wings – who play 13 home games over the next 16 days before the All-Star Break – trail Syracuse by 5.0 games in the North and now hold a 2.0-game lead over Columbus and Buffalo in the Wild Card chase.
After a Leandro Castro RBI single in the sixth inning gave Lehigh Valley the 4-0 lead, Rochester answered right back with two in the top of the seventh – their first runs of the series after being shutout over the first 15 innings.
Chris Colabello started the rally with a leadoff single and was knocked home on a triple from Chris Herrmann. Nelson followed with an RBI groundout to bring home Herrmann and cut the ‘Pigs lead in half at 4-2.
Trailing 5-2 in the eighth, the Wings worked their two-out magic. With runners at the corners, Colabello delivered a base hit up the middle scoring Eric Farris who doubled with one out. Herrmann then worked a walk off IronPigs reliever Cesar Jimenez to load the bases and set the stage for Nelson who wasted no time delivering his biggest hit of the season.
Nelson drove the first pitch he saw from Jimenez to the left-center field gap, clearing the bases to give the Red Wings their first lead off the series. The double for Nelson was his first hit in 10 at-bats on the road trip.
The relief duo of Aaron Thompson and Ryan Pressly worked a perfect eighth and ninth inning, respectively. The save for Pressly was his fourth in five chances this season.
Sean Gilmartin made his third start of the season for Rochester allowing four runs on seven hits and two walks over six innings. Gilmartin yielded a two-run homer to Sebastian Valle in the second inning that gave Lehigh Valley a 3-0 lead. The southpaw has now allowed one home run in each of his first three starts with the Wings after surrendering only two in 12 starts at Double-A.
Friday’s win was just the third this season for Rochester when trailing after seven innings (3-32).
RHP Alex Meyer (4-4, 3.79) takes the mound in Saturday’s series opener at Frontier Field.