|Notes and Observations Week 15: Patriots Blow Out Dolphins 41-13; Clinch AFC East||Connelly’s Top Ten: Patriots Defense, Special Teams Carry Home Team||Fantasy Football Start ‘Em, Sit ‘Em: Week 15||Right Idea? Red Sox Bring in Rick Porcello, Wade Miley, Justin Masterson|
It was seven days, seven wins this past week for the Pawtucket Red Sox. The perfect week was good enough to push the Sox past the Lehigh Valley IronPigs and into first place in the IL North. Pawtucket lost their starting first baseman this week, as Lars Anderson was called up to Boston when Jason Repko was placed on the DL. Catcher Mike Rivera was signed to a minor league contract and assigned to Pawtucket to take Anderson’s roster spot.
Rich Hill, meanwhile, continued his comeback from Tommy John surgery with what is hopefully a brief stay with Pawtucket en route to Boston.
It was a nailbiter as Aaron Cook locked horns with John Lannan. Each starter allowed one run before yielding to the bullpens. Clayton Mortensen tossed two shutout innings, but Syracuse responded with Erik Arnesen and Ryan Perry each also throwing two scoreless frames. Then, in the 10th inning, Che-Hsuan Lin hit a bases clearing double off of Josh Wilkie, and Ryan Lavarnway singled him home to provide some insurance. The Chiefs made it interesting in the bottom of the inning with runners on first and second and nobody out, but Chorye Spoone worked out of the jam to seal the victory.
The starting pitching for both teams got shelled, with Alex Wilson and Zach Duke giving up six runs apiece. Pawtucket took the lead in the fifth on back-to-back-to-back doubles off of Austin Bibens-Dirkx from Alex Hassan, Matt Spring, and Jonathan Hee. A ninth inning home run from Seth Bynum was the only blemish on Will Inman’s rare three-inning save.
Both teams combined for six home runs in a game in which Pawtucket trailed 9-6 going into the bottom of the fifth. Mauro Gomez’ fourth bomb of the year cut the Durham lead to two, and Alex Hassan hit a grand slam for his first homer of the year to give the Sox a three-run lead. Will Middlebrooks hit a three-run shot in the eighth to seal the deal as recently-demoted Mark Melancon threw a scoreless ninth while punching out two.
Pawtucket’s bats stayed hot as the Sox scored in each of the first six innings, providing plenty of run support for Ross Ohlendorf. Mark Melancon tossed another scoreless frame to earn his first hold of the year. Mauro Gomez, Will Middlebrooks, and Lars Anderson each homered.
Mike Rivera singled home Daniel Nava in the first, Tony Thomas singled home Che-Hsuan Lin in the second, and that was all the scoring. Justin Germano scattered three hits over his six shutout innings, and Andrew Miller threw a perfect ninth to earn his first save of the year.
Aaron Cook once again went the distance to earn his second complete game of the season. Fourth-inning doubles from Ryan Lavarnway, Mauro Gomez, and Che-Hsuan Lin gave Pawtucket a 3-0 lead. In the next inning, Will Middlbrooks hit a towering shot off of Bulls reliever Romulo Sánchez that left the stadium for a three-run homer. Alex Hassan singled home Josh Kroeger to give the Sox a 7-0 lead.
Scranton jumped out to an early lead on a two-run shot from Gerald Laird in the second, but Pawtucket responded in the fourth with home runs from Daniel Nava and Mauro Gomez to give the Sox a 4-2 lead. Rich Hill pitched a scoreless eighth for his first hold, and Mark Melancon pitched a scoreless ninth for his first save. The win is Pawtucket’s ninth in a row, tying a franchise record.
Tags: Aaron Cook, Alex Hassan, Andrew Miller, Che-Hsuan Lin, Daniel Nava, Durham Bulls, Mark Melancon, mauro gomez, Pawtucket Red Sox, Red Sox, Rich Hill, Ryan Lavarnway, Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees, Syracuse Chiefs, Will Middlebrooks