Created: 07/27/2014 10:34 PM WHEC.com
Josmil Pinto's grand slam broke open a pitcher's duel, as Kris Johnson and the Rochester Red Wings defeated the Indianapolis Indians 6-3 Sunday afternoon at Frontier Field. The Wings have now won five straight games, and moved back into a tie with Pawtucket for the wild card playoff spot.The series concludes Monday night at 7:05 p.m.; Hall of Famer Bert Blyleven will sign autographs before the game, and the first 500 kids eat free.
Johnson was an International League All-Star with Indianapolis last season, and came into Sunday's game in the top five of several league pitching categories. He had a 5-0 record in his six previous home starts at Frontier this season.
The Indians got an RBI single from Mel Rojas, Jr. to take an early 1-0 lead in an 18-pitch first inning for Johnson.
Brandon Cumpton was part of the Indians' rotation along with Johnson last season, and opposed his former teammate Sunday.
The Red Wings took advantage of a walk and an error to put two runners on with one out in their half of the first inning, but couldn't cash in on the scoring chance.
A great defensive play by second baseman James Beresford helped out Johnson in the second inning. With one out and Tony Sanchez on first, Beresford flagged down a pop fly from Nevin Ashley in shallow right field. Beresford's back was to the infield when he made the catch, but he turned and fired a strike to Nate Hanson at first to double off Sanchez.
After walking Mel Rojas, Jr. in the top of the fourth, Johnson retired the next eleven batters he faced.
The Wings' offense provided some support in the bottom of the fifth, with Doug Bernier and Eric Farris both hitting singles after Dan Rohlfing had been walked to load the bases with one out. Beresford struck out for the second out, but then Pinto connected and sent a ball sailing out over the left field fence, giving the Wings a 4-1 lead. Pinto's grand slam was the Wings' eighth of the season. Going into Sunday's contest, the Wings were responsible for 25% of the slams in the IL this season.
Josh Kinney took Cumpton's place on the mound in the bottom of the sixth inning. Cumpton (5-3) threw 89 pitches in his five innings and allowed five hits and four runs while striking out four.
Kinney struck out the first batter he faced before Daniel Ortiz welcomed him to the game by lofting a home run to right field, extending the Wings' advantage to 5-1 and notching his sixth homer of the season. Kinney then hit Rohlfing with a pitch and Bernier's third single of the game gave the Wings runners on first and third. Rohlfing scored on Farris's sacrifice fly, beating the throw to home to make it 6-1.
Wirfin Obispo came in to pitch the seventh inning for the Indians and also struck out the first batter he saw.
The Indians looked to mount a rally in the top of the eighth. Chris McGuiness scored on a force out and Robert Andino came home on Chase d'Arnaud's single to cut the Wings' lead in half.
Johnson (9-4) left the game to praise from the crowd, having thrown 112 pitches over 7 2/3 innings. He conceded two hits in the first inning and three in the eighth, bookending six hitless frames that included five strikeouts.
The Indians also made a pitching change in the eighth inning, sending Vin Mazzaro to the bump. Mazzaro faced the minimum, capping the inning with a strikeout.
A.J. Achter retired the final four batters of the game, earning his fifth save of the season.