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Wings rally to walk-off win


ROCHESTER -- Bengie Gonzalez hit a bases loaded single in the bottom of the ninth inning, and the Rochester Red Wings rallied to 5-4 win over the Gwinnett Braves Thursday afternoon at Frontier Field. The Louisville Bats (Reds) come to town for a three-game series that begins Friday night at 6:35 p.m.

Red Wings left-hander Jason Wheeler got the start and looked very impressive. Wheeler kept his pitch count low and was cruising though the Braves' lineup until he give up the first score of the game in the seventh inning. Mel Rojas, Jr. led off the seventh with a single, but Wheeler was able to settle down by getting the next two batters. Almost out of the jam, Wheeler gave up a long two-out home run to Sean Kazmar giving the Braves a 2-0 advantage.

Gwinnett Braves pitcher Lucas Sims was equally as impressive. Sims moved through the lineup effectively giving up only three hits through the first six innings. Like Wheeler, Sims also gave up a two-run homer in the seventh inning. Tommy Field was hit by a pitch, setting the table for Matt Hague. Hague broke out of a 0-for-10 skid by crushing a two-run homer over the left field fence evening the game 2-2. It was the second homer of the season for Hague.

In the top of the eighth, the Braves put runners at second and third with none out, and Alan Busenitz took over for Wheeler on the mound. Busenitz got the first out, but a wild pitch allowed the go-ahead run and the Braves re-took the lead at 3-2. An RBI single boosted the lead to 4-2. Field saved another potential run by making a diving snag to take away a hit down the line for the second out, and Busenitz made a great play on a line drive off his shoe tops for the third out of the inning.

Wheeler was charged with four earned runs in his 7+ innings pitched, despite not allowing a runner past first base until the seventh. Wheeler gave up six hits and a walk with three strikeouts, and threw 89 pitches 61 for strikes.

Sims allowed four hits and two earned runs in seven innings, with a walk and three strikeouts. Sims threw 95 pitches, 60 for strikes. Sam Freeman took over in the bottom of the eighth, and the Wings put runners at first and second with one out thanks to hits from John Ryan Murphy and Ehire Adrianza but were unable to score.

In the bottom of the ninth against David Peterson, the Wings made one last rally. Hague and Daniel Palka led off with singles, putting the potential tying runs on base with none out. Niko Goodrum drilled a single up the middle, and Hague came around to score - bringing the Wings within a run at 4-3. Ben Paulsen snapped an 0-for-15 stretch with a clutch single, loading the bases. Murphy worked a full count from Peterson, then laced a single to bring in Palka and tie the score 4-4. That set the stage for Gonzalez, with a single over the head of left fielder Rojas that brought home Goodrum with the game-ending run.