The emotional rollercoaster that is the 2006 Rochester Red Wings turned to their best friend tonight–extra innings. Down to their final strike and trailing by one in the top of the 9th, pinch hitter Kevin West fought off an 0-2 pitch and snuck a ground ball thru the right side to bring home Tommy Watkins from second to miraculously tie the game. The throw home appeared to have beaten Watkins but Corky Miller couldn’t handle it cleanly and Tommy snuck in with one of the biggest runs of the Wings season.
Robert Korecky then allowed the first 2 hitters to reach base in the bottom of the 9th. Then David Murphy hit into a double play moving the winning run to 3rd with two out. Wisely Korecky intentionally walked Wing nemesis Jeff Bailey. That left it up to Corky Miller and Korecky got him on strikes to send the game into extra innings.
Ah, extra innings. Where the 2006 Wings are 15-3. Both teams went quietly in the 10th. But in the top of the 11th, the Wings went to work. Chris Heintz led off with a single and was sacrificed to 2nd. Alex Romero was walked intentionally and then Shawn Wooten drilled a single to center, moving slow footed Heintz to 3rd to load the bases. Quinton McCracken who entered the game in the 9th as a pinch runner battled thru 9 pitches and then hammered pitch #10 into right field to drive in the go-ahead run.
It was left to Korecky to close the deal. And close he did 3 up and 3 down. And the Wings came away with a thrilling 6-5 extra inning win, running their extra inning record to an extraordinary 16-3. For Bobby Korecky, it may have been his best outing as a Red Wing, and certainly his most important. He pitched the final 4 innings, allowing no runs only one hit and striking out 3 to run his record to 5-3.
For the second straight night, the Wings got some 2 out magic. Tonight they scored 3 of their 6 runs with 2 out, but certainly none bigger than pinch hitter Kevin West’s 2 out 2 strike base hit to tie the game in the 9th, when all seemed to be lost for Rochester.
So where does that leave the Red Wings? Tonight’s tally reveals that Scranton beats Syracuse to maintain their 3 ½ game lead over the Wings. Indianapolis split a double header with Richmond while Toledo won their game. Indy and Toledo are now tied again for 1st in the IL West. Louisville and Ottawa both lost.
That means with just 6 games to play the Wings lead Indy and Toledo by 3 games; Louisville by 4, and fading Ottawa by 5. One of the 3 IL West teams will win the division. The remaining 2 have to beat out the Wings for the wild card. These last 2 wins over Pawtucket have significantly improved the Wings chances to get to the post season, just when it seemed like they were folding up the tent.
Wings now move on to Buffalo for 2 games. Bisons also trail Rochester by 5 games, so their playoff chances have just about ended. Two huge crowds are expected for Buffalo’s final 2 home games. The Thursday game is already sold out...all 18,000+ seats.
Garrett Jones had 3 hits tonite including his 32nd double and his 89th RBI. He must have heard me whining about his lack of production! Dave Gassner pitched 5 innings tonight allowing 2 earned runs and 5 hits. He left the game leading 4-3 but Levale Speigner came in and immediately allowed a 2 run HR to Ron Calloway to give the Sox a 5-4 lead, which they held until 2 outs in the 9th.
Wings trying to have a winning record on the road for the first time since 1993. They need to go 3-3 in their final 6 games to reach 80 wins.
Rochester has played and lost a lot of one run games lately. It’s nice to finally win one!!