Wings Blackburn roughed up in season debut; lose to Lehigh Valley

Posted at: 07/23/2013 10:14 PM
Updated at: 07/23/2013 11:30 PM

Ethan Martin limited the Red Wings to just two hits over six scoreless innings, as the Lehigh Valley IronPigs topped Rochester 8-1 Tuesday night at Frontier Field. Chris Parmelee had two hits and an RBI for the Wings; the teams meet again at 7:05 p.m Wednesday night, with Twins Hall of Famer Rod Carew signing autographs before the game.

Nick Blackburn started for Rochester, his first appearance of the season here after making five starts between the Rookie level Gulf Coast League Twins, and the Double-A New Britain Rock Cats. He had wrist surgery in January, and spent most of the spring rehabbing in Florida. Blackburn has a career record of 11-4 with a 2.51 ERA in 31 starts with the Wings, including a complete game shutout of Lehigh Valley last July 8. Blackburn allowed a leadoff single Tuesday to Cesar Hernandez, but a double play and ground out quickly ended the IronPigs at bat.

Martin, a top pitching prospect in the Phillies system, came into Tuesday's game with 10 wins - tied with Wings lefty Andrew Albers for second in the International League. Martin issued a two-out walk to Parmelee, then struck out Oswaldo Arcia to end the Rochester half of the first inning.

After Blackburn tossed another shutout inning in the top of the second, Jermaine Mitchell led off the bottom half of the inning with a leadoff walk. Mitchell was then able to reach second via an errant throw over from pitcher Ethan Martin, giving the Wings a runner in scoring position with no outs. However, Mitchell would end up being stranded at third base, keeping the game tied at zero going into the third.

Shortly after, Cameron Rupp broke the scoreless tie as he lifted a solo home run to center field to lead off the third inning. The following batter, Tyson Gillies, then ripped a double down the right field line. After Gillies was moved to third via a sacrifice bunt by Hernandez, Freddy Galvis hit a single to score Gillies, pushing the lead to 2-0. Cody Asche followed up with a single of his own, putting runners on first and second with only one out. Cody Overbeck would then hit an RBI single, extending the lead to 3-0, before the inning ended with a double play.

A scoreless third inning for the Wings didn't allow Blackburn much time to rest between innings, but he rebounded just fine in the fourth, retiring the IronPigs in order. Parmelee led off the fourth for Rochester and ripped a liner to the pitcher Martin, who caught what would have been a single. Eric Farris, who replaced Arcia in the third, singled to right field with just one out. However, Mitchell struck out and Farris was thrown out at second base to end the fourth for the Wings.

After a strong fourth inning from Blackburn, he found himself in hot water again in the fifth. Hernandez hit a one-out single and eventually scored via an RBI double from Galvis, pushing the lead to 4-0 for Lehigh Valley. Asche then launched a two-run home run to give the IronPigs a 6-0 lead midway through the fifth.

Brian Dinkelman, who was at-bat when Farris was caught stealing the end the fourth, led off the fifth with a walk. The Wings would again spoil another opportunity on offense as the next three batters went down in order.

Luis Perdomo came on in relief of Blackburn to start the sixth. Blackburn (0-1) allowed 10 hits and six earned runs over his five innings, and did not walk nor strike out a batter.

Perdomo forced the leadoff hitter, Michael Martinez, out when Farris made an impressive, sliding play in left field to rob Martinez of a hit. Perdomo then walked the next two batters, but worked his way out of the jam by forcing the next two batters to ground out. Parmelee picked up a two-out single in the bottom of the sixth to give the Wings, but the rally again ended there for Rochester.

IronPigs starter Martin (11-6) yielded just two hits over six innings pitched, walking three and striking out six.

When Perdomo allowed a pair of walks and a hit with one out in the eighth inning, A.J. Achter took over on the mound for Rochester. A ground out by Hernandez brought in a run for Lehigh Valley, then Achter struck out Galvis to strand the runners.

The Wings ended the shutout in the eighth inning against reliever B.J. Rosenberg. Parmelee's two-out double scored Ray Olmedo to make it a 7-1 game.

Asche homered off Achter in the ninth inning, the third hit of the night for Asche.