The Wild Things used a clutch two-out hit by Garrett Rau and a whole lot of patience to score seven runs in the bottom of the sixth inning and rally to defeat the Rockford Aviators, 9-3, Saturday night at Consol Energy Park.
The win extended the Wild Things’ winning streak to five games and kept them undefeated at home.
Rockford led 3-2 in the sixth before Rau, the No. 9 hitter in the lineup, lined a single up the middle off Rockford starting pitcher Kyle Brueggemann (0-2) to score William Beckwith from third base with the tying run.
Rau’s hit came one pitch after he sliced a foul fly ball down the right-field line that Rockford outfielder Wander Ramos was unable to make a sliding catch of in front of the Washington bullpen.
Rockford then self-destructed as Brueggemann and relievers David Wayne Russo and Logan Odom struggled to throw strikes and catcher Adrian Martinez committed two passed balls in the big inning.
Brueggemann walked Danny Poma to load the bases and that was all for the Rockford starter. Russo entered and walked Ryan Kresky to force in Maxx Garret with the go-ahead run.
With C.J. Beatty batting, a passed ball allowed Rau to race home and give the Wild Things a 5-3 lead. Beatty eventually walked and Stewart Ijames followed with a run-scoring infield single to the hole at shortstop, making it a 6-3 game.
Odom was then brought in to pitch, but another passed ball allowed Kresky to score. After Carter Bell walked to load the bases again, Beckwith singled for the second time of the inning, driving in Beatty and Ijames and giving Washington a 9-3 lead.
The Wild Things sent eight players to the plate after two outs. After Rau’s hit, they managed to hit only one ball out of the infield – Beckwith’s single through the right side of the infield – yet pushed across six runs.
Zac Fuesser (1-0), a former Pittsburgh Pirates minor leaguer, threw 2 2/3 hitless innings of relief for the win.
Rockford took a 2-0 lead in the top of the third inning against Washington starter Alex Kaminsky, who was making his Wild Things debut after being activated from the 7-day disabled list before the game. A pair of one-out singles by Edgar Corcino and Joe Martinez preceded Kenny Bryant’s slicing opposite-field triple into the left-field corner.
Washington cut short the inning when Jeff Kremer hit a fly ball to left fielder Beatty for the second out as Braynt tagged and tried to score from third bag. Beatty, who played second base for Washington last year, threw a strike to catcher Maxx Garrett, who applied a quick tag to the sliding Bryant for the inning’s final out.
Beatty also figured prominently in the bottom of the third inning. After Danny Poma led off with a single and stole second base, Ryan Kresky flied out to left field for the first out of the inning. That brought Rockford manager James Frisbee out of the dugout for a talk with Brueggemann (0-2).
Whatever Frisbee’s message either didn’t work or didn’t get executed as Beatty hit Brueggemann’s next pitch over the outfield wall and into the right-field parking lot for a game-tying two-run homer.
Rockford took the 3-2 lead in fifth when Corcinso singled, stole second and scored on a single by Bryant.
Kaminsky went 4 2/3 innings, allowing seven hits and three runs. To make room for Kaminsky on the active roster, Washington placed relief pitcher Jhonny Montoya on the 7-day disabled list. Montoya threw a scoreless ninth inning in Washington’s win Friday night.
Rookie Devin Malone followed Fuesser with two shutout innings, allowing only one single.
Ijames went 3-for-5 to pace the Washington offense, which generated 10 hits and drew eight walks. Beckwith had two hits, both in the pivotal sixth inning.