Star Wars night at Frontier Field in Rochester, NY produced quite the atmosphere in the 2nd leg of a day-night doubleheader. Wearing jerseys that I initially considered to be one of the most ridiculous things I've ever seen, Rochester pulled out a 12-7 win over the Indianapolis Indians in front of a season high crowd of 12,552 (paid) after both managers were ejected and both benches cleared with 2 outs in the 9th.
Rochester SP Jake Stevens made a spot start for the Red Wings, tossing 2.2 innings before exiting with a 6-3 lead. Rochester, buoyed by another strong game at the plate from Trevor Plouffe (3/5, HR, 3R, 3RBI), jumped out to a 1-0 on a solo HR to left. The Red Wings blew the game open in the 2nd off of Indianapolis Indians starter Justin Wilson. RBI singles for 2B Steve Singleton and C Steve Holm preceded a Trevor Plouffe ground rule double to right center. Former Paw Sox 1B/LF Aaron Bates delivered a 2 run single, capping a 5 run frame.
The night was defined by the inability for Indianapolis' pitching staff to locate on the mound. Michael Dubee threw just 21 of his 45 pitches for strikes in relief of Wilson who was suffering similar issues, tossing only 31 of 62 in the zone. Rochester peppered Wilson for a number of line drives, whose velocity sat in the low 80s for much of the night.
Jake Stevens, despite initially pounding the strike zone, got himself into trouble in the 3rd after throwing the ball away on a pickoff attempt at first base. Rochester's eventual call to the bullpen, Cole DeVries, scattered 5 hits in 3.1 innings to earn the win.
Indianapolis LF Alex Presley, 3B Matt Hague, and CF Gorkys Hernandez all had impressive at bats on the night although the Indianapolis offense only seemed to really click when aided by Red Wing errors. Former Atlanta/Boston/Cleveland prospect Andy Marte looked rather pedestrian in the heart of the order by striking out twice and having rather uninspiring at bats.
The real highlight of the night was having the opportunity to see Joe Nathan get an inning of work. Throwing just 12 pitches, Nathan induced a flyout to centerfield before striking out 2B Brian Friday and Presley to end the inning without and trouble. Nathan mixed his fastball and changeup well while also dropping in a breaking ball at the knees. His fastball topped out at 93MPH and he seemed very comfortable dealing to AAA bats.
As the outcome appeared all but decided, the Indians scored 3 runs off Carlos Gutierrez to cut the deficit to 5 in the 8th. Brian Friday took out Trevor Plouffe very hard in the top of the 9th leading Red Wings manager Tom Nieto and Indians manager Dean Traenor to go nose to nose, the benches to clear, and each skipper to be ejected.
The miniature disagreement was pale in comparison to the constant light saber fight going on two rows in front of me tonight. $5.50 for a light up toy was all the rage on this Star Wars themed night, providing great fun for the family atmosphere at Frontier Field on Fathers Day weekend.
I simply wonder how long it is until we see Ron Gardenhire transmitting the following message to Rochester: "Help me Kyle Gibson, you're my only hope."