The Syracuse Mets, led by their offense once again, kept up their winning ways with a 13-8 victory over the Rochester Red Wings on Friday night at NBT Bank Stadium. In the bottom of the fifth inning, Albert Almora Jr., Travis Blankenhorn, and Brandon Drury hit back-to-back-to-back home runs to help the Mets secure their third straight series win. Syracuse has now won eight of its last ten games and has come out on top in four of the first five games of the seven-game set against the Red Wings.
Rochester (26-37) struck first with a pair of runs in the top of the first inning. Andrew Stevenson led off with a single. After Adrian Sanchez lined out, Jake Noll singled, advancing Stevenson to third base. Daniel Palka then popped out for the second out, and Brandon Snyder was hit by a pitch to load the bases. Syracuse pitcher Vance Worley then walked Derek Dietrich, bringing home Stevenson as the game’s first run to give the Red Wings a 1-0 lead. With the bases still loaded, Worley then walked Rafael Bautista to make it 2-0.
Syracuse (23-41) responded with a huge bottom of the first, which started with an Almora Jr. leadoff single. After Blankenhorn grounded out, Drury and Patrick Mazeika both walked, loading the bases with one out. Wilfredo Tovar then stepped in and delivered yet another clutch hit with a two-run double for Syracuse to tie the game at two. Chance Sisco followed with a three-run homer to give the Mets a 5-2 advantage. Khalil Lee kept Syracuse rolling with a single, and Orlando Calixte followed with a walk. Worley, the pitcher, then connected on an RBI single to left field, scoring Lee to cap off the six-run first inning and hand the Mets a 6-2 lead.
Rochester drew one run closer in the top of the third. Synder led off with a double, and Dietrich followed with a single to advance Synder to third base. After Bautista flew out, Alex Dunlap delivered with a one-run double to make it a 6-3 game with the Mets still in front. Worley then retired Nick Wells and Stevenson as the Red Wings left two runners stranded in scoring position.
In the bottom of the fourth, Blankenhorn and Drury both drew two-out walks. Mazeika followed with a two-run double, making it 8-3 Mets.
In the top of the fifth, Synder led off the frame being hit by a pitch. After Dietrich struck out, Bautista and Dunlap hit back-to-back singles, putting Synder at third and Bautista at second. Ali Castillo then lined out, but Stevenson connected on a two-run single to bring Rochester within three, 8-5.
But of course, the Mets erupted with their response in the bottom of the fifth and did it all with two outs. Calixte singled and César Puello walked, putting runners at first and second for Almora Jr., and the former Chicago Cub blasted a three-run home run to increase the Syracuse lead to six, 11-5. Blankenhorn followed Almora, making it back-to-back homers as his solo shot made it a 12-5 game. However, that just wasn’t enough for the Mets, as Syracuse went back-to-back-to-back with a Drury long ball to close what was a five-run fifth inning for the Mets and increase the lead to 13-5.
Lefty reliever Andrew Mitchell, who was called up from Double-A Binghamton on Friday, made his Triple-A debut for Syracuse in the top of the sixth. Mitchell surrendered a leadoff home run to Jake Noll to make it a 13-6 game with Syracuse still in front.
The Auburn Tiger product Mitchell then retired the next eight batters he faced before allowing another home run to Noll in the top of the eighth, a solo shot to bring Rochester within eight, 13-7.
With Syracuse still leading by six, Tom Windle came out of the bullpen to pitch the top of the ninth for the Mets. After loading the bases with no outs, Windle limited the damage, surrendering just one run as Syracuse won, 13-8. The Mets are now 11-5 this season against the Red Wings with the victory.
Syracuse will look for yet another win on Saturday against Rochester. Right-hander Akeem Bostick will take the ball for Syracuse against Rochester southpaw Sean Nolin. First pitch is set for 6:35 p.m. from NBT Bank Stadium. Gates open at 5:30.