Juan Francisco's second home run of the game gave the Buffalo Bisons an 8-6 win over the Red Wings in 13 innings Sunday, in the home opener at Frontier Field. The Red Wings had squandered an early 4-1 lead, then came back to tie the game in the eighth inning to send the game into extra innings.
The Red Wings will host the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders (Yankees) Monday night at 7:05 p.m., with the first 500 kids 12 and under getting a voucher for a free hot dog, snack and drink.
Rookie Alex Meyer, the top pitching prospect in the Minnesota organization, struck out lead-off batter Anthony Gose to open the game. A pair of flyouts gave Meyer an efficient first inning.
Darin Mastroianni led off the Red Wings' first inning with a double off Bisons starter Kyle Drabek, and later scored on a fielder's choice grounder by Chris Parmelee.
Meyer struck out veteran Dan Johnson to open the Buffalo second inning, but Francisco hit a solo home run with two outs to tie the score at 1-1.
Rochester took back the lead in their half of the second. With one out, Eric Farris singled then stole second base. Eric Fryer worked Drabek for a walk, then Doug Bernier lofted a 1-0 pitch over the left field wall and into the Bisons bullpen. The three-run homer put the Wings ahead 4-1.
The Bisons took advantage of a pair of Red Wings errors to pick up a run in the top of the fourth inning. Meyer struck out the final two batters of the inning to strand a runner at third base, and end the inning.
In the top of the fifth, Buffalo pulled to within a run on an RBI double by Munenori Kawasaki. Meyer again stranded a runner at third base with an inning ending strikeout, his sixth of the game.
Meyer finished his first Triple-A outing having allowed three hits, three runs (two earned), and a walk to go with the six strikeouts. He threw 79 pitches, 51 for strikes. Aaron Thompson took over for Meyer and allowed a single to Kevin Pillar, and a two-run homer to Johnson which put the Bisons ahead for the first time in the game, 5-4. Thompson settled down to retire the next three batters, two by strikeout.
The Bisons extended their lead in the eighth against Ryan Pressly, who lasted for 1 1/3 innings, allowing two hits and two runs (both earned) and striking out two. Johnson doubled and Francisco later brought him in on a single. Edgar Ibarra saw his first season stint, throwing 2/3 of an inning with one strikeout.
Deibinson Romero started a rally against reliever Ryan Tepera in the top of the eighth with a walk, and was replaced by pinch-runner Chris Rahl. Parmelee singled, and Rahl scored on a sacrifice fly by Wilkin Ramirez to bring the Red Wings within a run at 6-5. James Beresford and Farris put together singles to load the bases with one out. Fryer drew a bases loaded walk that forced in Parmelee, and the game was tied 6-6. Tepera got flyouts from both Bernier and Mastroianni both out with bases loaded.
Former Wings closer Bobby Korecky struck out a pair in the ninth to keep the game tied and send Opening Day into extra innings.
Michael Tonkin worked the eighth and ninth innings for Rochester, allowing just one hit while striking out two.
Deolis Guerra relieved Tonkin for the start of the 11th inning, and Guerra stuck out three without allowing a baserunner in his first two relief innings. After Matt Tuiasosopo singled to open the 13th inning, Brooks Raley came into the game with the lead run on first base for the Bisons. That's when Francisco launched his second homer of the game, making a winner out of Korecky (1-0) in relief. Guerra (0-1) took the loss for the Wings, and Neil Wagner picked up his second save of the season.
The game was the longest extra inning affair in a Frontier Field home opener, topping 2011's 12-inning Wings win over Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.