The Red Wings used a six-run sixth inning rally to defeat the Lehigh Valley IronPigs 12-6 Friday night at Frontier Field, in front of a standing room only crowd of 12,553. The teams play Saturday night at 7:05 p.m., with fireworks following the game.
The pitching match-up featured a rematch of the April 10th game in Lehigh Valley. Logan Darnell, coming off of his second career complete game, took the mound for the Wings to face Barry Enright, loser of his last six games started. Darnell put his impressive home record (3-1, 2.29) against the best road team in all of Triple-A (22-16, .579).
Darnell recorded two outs on four pitches, and would have had a five-pitch first inning but for a fielding error by shortstop Doug Bernier on a ball hit by Leandro Castro. Russ Canzler followed with a single, and Maikel Franco's triple brought in both runners for a 2-0 Lehigh Valley lead.
Enright walked a pair in the Red Wings half of the first, but got out of trouble when he struck out Brad Nelson on a pitch that got away from catcher Sebastian Valle - who threw out Nelson by a step at first base for the third out.
Darnell found himself in some trouble once again in the top of the third. Grady Sizemore singled to lead off the inning then Darnell walked Tyler Henson to give the Pigs first and second with no outs. The next batter, Leandro Castro, singled to bring home Sizemore, slapping a ball to right field that bounced off Chris Rahl's glove. Darnell retired the next two batters, however, the Pigs still had runners at the corners. Pedro Florimon was not able to field a slow chopper by the next batter Jim Murphy, allowing another unearned run to score, giving the Iron Pigs a 4-0 lead.
The Wings started to climb back in the bottom of the fourth. Chris Herrmann started the inning with a single to right, then a Nelson double, which was mishandled by the right fielder Cam Perkins, allowed Herrmann to score. The Wings were then able to cut the IronPigs lead in half with a Chris Rahl sac fly, making the score 4-2. However, the rally stopped with just the two runs, as the Wings left two runners on base to end the inning.
A Franco double in the top of the fifth gave the Pigs a three run lead once again. Franco hit the ball into left-centerfield, just out of the reach of a diving Eric Farris. The ball rolled past Farris and onto the warning track, allowing the runner to score from first.
The Wings' third error of the night allowed Franco to score from third. A line drive by Perkins was caught by Daniel Ortiz in left field, seemingly not deep enough to allow Franco to tag and score.But Ortiz made the throw home, sailing the ball over Herrmann's head. Franco slid into home and the Pigs regained their four run advantage.
Enright was pulled after 4 1/3 innings. Enright gave up two earned runs, on five hits, with four walks, while tying a season high with five strikeouts. Enright's pitch count did him in, throwing 103 pitches in total, 62 of which were strikes.
Darnell lasted a bit longer than Enright, completing five innings. Deolis Guerra was inserted for Darnell in the top of the sixth. Darnell gave up six runs (two earned), on seven hits, on 90 pitches (57 strikes).
The Wings began their rally in the bottom of the sixth. Florimon and Rahl kicked off the inning with back-to-back singles. The top of the order then took it from there. Back-to-back-to-back singles by the one, two, and three hitters (Farris, James Beresford, Deibinson Romero) all drove in a run each to cut the Pigs lead to just one. Hector Neris hit Bernier with a pitch with the bases loaded and that pulled the Wings even.
Phillippe Aumont was called upon to try and retire the side with the bases loaded and two outs. Instead, Florimon delivered by slicing a single to right field, plating two runs and giving the Wings their first lead of the game at 8-6.
Herrmann stroked a two-run single in the seventh inning, extending the Wings' lead to 10-6. A wild pitch brought in another run to make it an 11-6 game. An eighth inning single by Farris scored Ortiz and the Red Wings had a 12-6 lead.
Guerra struck out four over two scoreless relief innings, with Aaron Thompson working the eighth inning. Michael Tonkin pitched the ninth for the Red Wings.
Six different Red Wings players had at least two hits each, as the Wings - held to just one hit through the first three innings - out-hit the IronPigs 16-11.