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Five-run eighth inning powers Syracuse to 10-5 win in Rochester on Saturday night

Jonathan Araúz had two hits, including a home run and a three-run triple, on Saturday night for Syracuse. (Herm Card)
June 3, 2023

Rochester, NY – The Syracuse Mets finally got the breaks to go their way on Saturday night. A five-run flurry in the top of the eighth inning put the Mets in front for good as the Mets took down the Rochester Red Wings (Triple-A Washington Nationals) by a 10-5 final

Rochester, NY – The Syracuse Mets finally got the breaks to go their way on Saturday night. A five-run flurry in the top of the eighth inning put the Mets in front for good as the Mets took down the Rochester Red Wings (Triple-A Washington Nationals) by a 10-5 final on a windy Saturday night at Innovative Field. It was the first win of the week for the Mets.

Syracuse (21-35) got off to a solid start, taking a 1-0 lead in the top of the second when Jonathan Araúz crushed a solo home run over the wall in right-center field. It was the first homer of the week for Araúz, who hit three home runs in last week’s series against the Louisville Bats. The middle infielder now has six home runs on the season.

Rochester (26-28) was held in check during the first three innings by Mets starter Alex Valverde, who allowed just one hit and three baserunners in three scoreless frames to start the game.

However, the fourth inning proved to be Valverde’s demise as the Red Wings scored four times on four hits to grab a 4-1 lead. The home team would send eight men to the plate in the pivotal frame, powered by an RBI single from Travis Blankenhorn, an RBI double from Drew Millas, and a two-run single from Derek Hill. Blankenhorn, who played for the Syracuse Mets last season, has burned his former team all week in Rochester. The Pennsylvania native has driven in six runs in the first five games of the series, racking up six hits as well in the process.

While the Red Wings offense put the team in front, their starting pitcher kept them in the lead. Paolo Espino turned in a very solid outing, allowing just one run in five innings on three hits, three walks, and five strikeouts. The 36-year-old has turned in consecutive impressive outings. Espino allowed just two earned runs in five innings of work at the Toledo Mud Hens last Sunday.

Anthony Banda was the first man out of the bullpen for Rochester, entering the game protecting a 4-1 lead in the top of the sixth. Banda promptly gave up the lead in rapid succession. After Ronny Mauricio grounded out to start the inning, the Mets got to work. First, Syracuse loaded up the bases on a Tyler White single plus walks to DJ Stewart and Jaylin Davis. Then, Jonathan Araúz created a little more magic. Araúz laced a line drive to the left-centerfield gap that rolled all the way to the outfield wall, plating all three runners and tying the game up at four. The next batter, Carlos Cortes, lofted a fly ball to the right-field warning track that was easily deep enough to score Araúz on a sacrifice fly and hand the Mets the lead back at 5-4.

The Red Wings wasted no time knotting the game right back up at five in the bottom of the sixth inning. After consecutive strikeouts to start the inning, back-to-back extra-base hits got the job done for the home team. A double from Richie Martin extended the inning, followed by a game-tying triple from Hill on a line drive that he smoked down the left-field line. Hill finished the game a home run shy of the cycle, going 3-for-5 with a double, a triple, and three runs driven in.

The game remained tied into the top of the eighth, when a beleaguered Syracuse bunch finally saw some good breaks come their way. The Mets scored five times to take the lead for good, sending ten men to the plate in the process. It was one of the stranger innings you’ll ever see as the Mets had just two hits in the entire inning and none until the eighth batter of the frame. After Tyler White flied out to start the inning, four consecutive batters (Stewart, Davis, Araúz, and Cortes) walked to push across one run and make it a 6-5 game. After a Lorenzo Cedrola fly out to shallow left field kept the bases loaded and produced the second out of the inning, Luis Guillorme drew yet another walk to score one more run and make it a 7-5 game.From there, the Mets finally produced a hit that would prove to be the definitive blow of the ballgame. Omar Narváez looped a broken-bat single into shallow right field, plating two runners easily. The outfielder for Rochester, Nomar Mazara, made a fateful mistake by overrunning the ball, allowing Guillorme to score all the way from first. That made it a 10-5 game and capped off a satisfying inning on what had been until that point a perplexing week for the Mets.

While the Mets offense pushed across ten runs in the game, their bullpen ensured the team would walk off the field winners on this Saturday night. Bubby Rossman, Nate Lavender, and John Curtiss worked a combined five and one-thirds innings of relief, allowing just one run on five hits while walking one and striking out seven. Curtiss finished the job after the five runs in the top of the eighth, working two scoreless and hitless innings to finish off the first win of the week for the Mets in Rochester.

Syracuse finishes off a week-long, six-game series at the Rochester Red Wings on Sunday afternoon. Game six of the series is scheduled to start at 1:05 p.m. at Innovative Field. David Peterson is slated to start for the Mets, opposed by José Ureña for the Red Wings.