ROCHESTER, N.Y. - The Louisville Bats found some early offense, but could not turn the production into a win. After leading 3-0 and 4-3, the Bats fell to the Rochester Red Wings 5-4 at Frontier Field Tuesday night in the series opener.
The Bats entered the bottom of the eighth with a one-run lead, but Danny Valencia tied the game with an RBI groundout that plated Wilkin Ramirez. Two batters later, Sean Burroughs doubled to left, scoring Matt Carson for what turned out to be the winning run of the game.
Louisville (12-28) has now lost ten of their last 12 games. The Red Wings (15-23) snapped a six game losing streak with the victory.
Miguel Rojas was the only Louisville player with two hits, and Bill Rhinehart homered for the second straight game, but the team was held hitless in their last 10 at-bats.
Ben Revere led the Red Wings with three hits, while Ramirez finished 2-for-4 with an RBI and a run scored. Carson also extended his hitting streak to 10 games, the longest for any Red Wing player this season.
It was the first win of the season for Rochester in which they trailed after seven innings, and the Red Wings tied their season-high with 12 hits.
Louisville starter Pedro Villarreal allowed three runs off nine hits and struck out two in 6.2 innings and at one point retired ten straight batters. He left in position to pick up his second win in as many starts, but Nick Christiani gave up two runs on two hits in 2/3 of an inning, blowing his third save and getting saddled with his second loss of the season.
Rochester starter Luke French was shaky most of the game, throwing three wild pitches and giving up four runs on six hits while striking out three and walking two. French was replaced by Esmerling Vasquez, who allowed just one hit and struck out three over three innings, improving his record to 2-3 on the season.
Casey Fien retired the last two batters of the game to earn his sixth save of the season.
Rhinehart got the Bats going with a homer to right field, putting Louisville up front 1-0 in the second. Rhinehart now has four home runs on the season.
Louisville kept the offensive momentum moving in the third as Brian Peacock started the inning off with a double. One batter later Willie Harris hit an RBI-double, scoring Peacock for the first run of the inning. Harris was moved to third on a sacrifice fly by Kristopher Negron, then slid into home after a wild pitch by French, giving the Bats a 3-0 lead.
Rochester got on the board in the bottom half of the inning with an RBI-groundout by Ramirez that scored Rene Rivera, cutting the Louisville lead to 3-1 after three.
The Red Wings added two more runs in the fourth, tying the game at three. Matt Carson doubled down the right field line, scoring Danny Valencia. Two batters later, Denis Phipps robbed Tsuyoshi Nishioka of a sure double, but injured his right shoulder on the play, allowing Carson to cross. Phipps came out of the game, but walked off on his own power.
Negron moved the Bats back into the lead with an RBI-single that scored Felix Perez for a 4-3 lead in the top half of the fifth. Louisville would go on to load the bases with one out, but Rhinehart grounded into a double play, ending the inning and the threat.
After that, things turned sour for the Bats, as their last base runner of the game came on a two-out single by Rojas in the sixth and their bullpen blew their sixth save of the season.
The two teams will meet again at 7:05 p.m. on Wednesday. Scheduled to take the mound for the Bats is Chad Reineke (1-2, 3.96) going up against Rochester's Jeff Manship (2-1, 4.15).