The Rochester Red Wings defeated the Pawtucket Red Sox 10-1 Monday afternoon at Frontier Field, in the final game of the 2017 season.
However, Lehigh Valley held off a late comeback from Scranton/W-B to win 4-3 and claim the IL Wild Card spot via the tie breaker based on the regular season series.
“It’s so cliche but how could it possibly come down to the last day,” manager Mike Quade said. “I think you can make the case if we would have found a way to win a couple days ago, it wouldn’t have come down to the last day, or at least we would have dictated our own terms and had a say in it. But I’ve been proud of these guys all year.”
The Red Wings finish the season with an 80-62 record. It’s the first time the Wings have won 80 games in back-to-back seasons since 1974-75.
Rochester also became the first team in International League history to win 80 games in back to back seasons and not make the playoffs.
“It’s definitely difficult but its one of those weird situations,” Wings infielder Matt Hague said. “You also have to give credit to the guys in Lehigh. I think they beat a really good Scranton team. We played good enough to get there and unfortunately we lost the tie breaker.”
The Wings had a chance to get on the board early in this one as in the second inning, back to back singles off Jaylen Beeks by Daniel Palka and Leonardo Reginatto gave the Wings runners on the corners with only one out. The Red Wings cashed in on this opportunity with a sacrifice fly by J.B. Shuck that scored Palka making it 1-0 Rochester.
Rochester padded their lead in the bottom of the third when Robbie Grossman, who is on a rehab stint from the Minnesota Twins, blooped a single behind first base that plated Matt Hague making it 2-0.
Pawtucket cut the lead in half in the top of the fourth inning with a RBI double by Mike Miller off of Wings starting pitcher Adalberto Mejia making it 2-1 Rochester.
Jonathan Rodriguez took Beeks to deep left field in the bottom of the fifth for a two run home run that brought home Robbie Grossman. The home run was Rodriguez’s first in a Rochester uniform and it also expanded the lead to 4-1 Red Wings.
That homer brought Beeks’ afternoon to a close. Beeks finished with 4.2 innings pitched, allowing six hits, four runs, and three walks while striking out five. He totaled 96 pitches, 59 for strikes.
Mejia was relieved in the top of the sixth by Dietrich Enns. Mejia delivered five innings of work, allowing six hits, one run and two walks. He struck out two on 61 pitches, 42 for strikes.
Hague tacked another run on in the bottom of the seventh by taking Shawn Haviland deep for a home run to left field and making the score 5-1. Reginatto also drove home Levi Michael with an RBI single that added another run to the Rochester total, making it 6-1.
Still in the seventh, J.B. Shuck added three more runs with a home run to deep left field that scored both Palka and Reginatto and stretched the Red Wing lead to 9-1.
Hague added one more run in the eight after he went yard in his second straight at bat that made it 10-1.
Enns added four solid innings of relief out of the bullpen allowing no runs and only giving up four hits while striking out two.
Rochester out-hit Pawtucket 12-10.