The Rochester Red Wings played as the Rochester Hustlers Sunday night, in a nod to Rochester’s pro team from 1909 to 1918. But it was the the Syracuse Mets who hustled to four eighth inning runs and a 7-3 win Sunday night at Frontier Field. The Mets kept their first place hopes alive, with the division race coming down to Monday afternoon’s 1:05 p.m. contest.
Syracuse reached the score board first against Red Wings starter Preston Guilmet. With the bases loaded, Aaron Altherr hit a sacrifice fly to center, bringing in Jason Krizan from third and making the score 1-0.
Mets starter Drew Gagnon ran into trouble in the first inning after Wilin Rosario reached on an error and Brandon Barnes drew a walk, but escaped any danger and got through the Red Wings lineup in two innings without giving any runs.
Syracuse extended their lead in the top of the third inning with a two-RBI double off the wall in left off the bat of Krizan giving the Mets a 3-0 lead.
After Guilmet pitched 3.0 innings, allowing four hits, three earned runs, two walks and striking out two, Rochester brought in Denny Bentley to make his Triple-A debut. Guilmet threw 53 pitches, 34 for strikes. Bentley pitched 2.0 innings in his debut without giving up a hit and struck out two batters.
Rochester went to the bullpen again in the top of the sixth and brought on former Met, Ryan O’Rourke who threw a scoreless inning with two strikeouts.
Gagnon finished his impressive outing after throwing 6.0 innings, allowing five hits, no runs, one walk and striking out six. 71 of his 104 pitches were for strikes.
Rochester finally reached the score board in the bottom of the seventh. Yeltsin Encarnacion started the rally with a ground rule double to left, followed by a single by Ramon Flores and a walk to Rosario. Alejandro De Aza stepped up in the next at bat and hammered a double into the right-center gap, bringing in Encarnacion and Flores, and advancing Rosario to third. Syracuse went to the bullpen and brought in Matt Blackham who immediately threw a wild pitch, allowing Rosario to cross the plate and tie the game 3-3.
O’Rourke threw 2.0 scoreless innings with four strikeouts but ran into trouble in the top of the eighth after he walked the first two batters of the inning. The Red Wings made another call to the bullpen and brought on Jeremy Bleich who gave up an RBI double to Danny Espinosa, allowing the Mets to retake the lead. After Bleich was able to get Krizan to ground out to first, Rochester decided to intentionally walk Rhymer Liriano to load the bases. In the next at bat, Bleich hit Taijeron with a pitch to push another run across, followed by an infield single by Braxton Lee to bring the fourth run of the inning to score, giving Syracuse a 7-3 lead.
A steady rain began to fall in the eighth inning that continued on into the ninth until the umpires finally decided to stop play before the Hustlers batted in the bottom of the ninth. A rain delay followed before the game was called.