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There were a few roster moves made this past week. On Friday, Boston and Pawtucket swapped relievers as Justin Thomas was sent south while Rich Hill completed his return from Tommy John surgery. Then, on Tuesday, Jose Iglesias got the call up to Boston, and Junichi Tazawa returned to Pawtucket, where he has nine strikeouts in seven innings.
Then on Wednesday, the Red Sox made a flurry of moves. They placed Kevin Youkilis on the disabled list and sent down first baseman Lars Anderson. Coming up to the big leagues are Will Middlebrooks and Clayton Mortensen, while Aaron Cook will be making his first career start for the Red Sox on Saturday. Cook will start in place of Josh Beckett (lat soreness), who is being skipped in the rotation.
Another week, another win. That statement would be complimentary to a football team, but would describe a sad state of affairs for a baseball club. A sole victory, however, was all the Pawtucket Red Sox could manage this week in six games.
Doug Mathis was given the task of keeping the franchise-record nine-game winning streak alive against the Yankees. Things started off smoothly as Pawtucket wasted no time in getting on the board with a two-run homer from Mauro Gomez in the bottom of the first. Third-inning home runs from Pedro Ciriaco and Will Middlebrooks expanded the Pawtucket lead to 5-0, and it looked like nothing could stop the Sox from extending the streak to double-figures.
It was then that Mathis began the unfortunate trend of mound meltdowns that has yet to end. Jack Cust took Mathis deep to make it 5-3, and Francisco Cervelli hit an RBI single in the fifth to cut the lead to one. Andrew Miller, Rich Hill, and Will Inman each pitched scoreless frames, and Arnie Beyeler handed the ball to Garrett Mock to seal the win. A single, two walks, and another single later, and Scranton had a 6-5 lead. Chorye Spoone came in to try to limit the damage, but a Brandon Laird RBI single extended the Yankee lead to 8-5. Daniel Nava hit a sacrifice fly in the bottom of the ninth to get a run back, but Scranton closer Kevin Whelan fanned the last two batters to record his fifth save of the season.
This one was a pitcher’s duel at Huntington Park between Ross Ohlendorf and Zach McAllister, with Columbus leading 2-1 as the bullpens entered in the bottom of the sixth. Andrew Miller was first out of the gate, and struck out the first two batters he faced. Miller then proceeded to walk Lonnie Chisenhall, and tried to throw a letter-high fastball past Matt LaPorta on a 3-1 count. Didn’t work. LaPorta drove it deep it to the opposite field for his sixth home run of the year to expand Columbus’ lead to 4-1. Clipper closer Chris Ray fanned two en route to his fourth save.
Aaron Cook turned in another good start, pitching 6.1 innings and allowing three runs while striking out three. Thanks to a fourth-inning double from Che-Hsuan Lin that drove in a pair of runs, Pawtucket clung to a 4-3 heading into the bottom of the eighth. Enter Tony Pena, Jr, who wasted no time in giving up a two-run bomb to Beau Mills to blow his second save of the season. (Come on guys. It’s time to end the “Tony Pena can’t hit, but maybe he can pitch” experiment.) Alex Hassan singled in the top of the ninth, but Jeremy Accardo induced Lin to ground into a game ending double play to earn his third save.
Pawtucket jumped out to an early lead, scoring single runs on errors in the first and third innings. Justin Germano pitched well through five innings, but gave up two runs in the sixth before giving way to Clayton Mortensen. Mortensen got stuck with the tough-luck loss when Cord Phelps reached on a fielding error by Mauro Gomez in the seventh, then scored when Tony Thomas threw a double-play ball into the dugout. Chris Ray was money in the ninth once again, nailing down his fifth save while striking out two.
Sox starter Brandon Duckworth got roughed up for four runs in the first three innings, but settled down and was able to complete five without further damage. With Pawtucket trailing 4-3 in the sixth, Ryan Lavarnway hit a rare sacrifice double-play to drive in Pedro Ciriaco and tie the game. Back to back doubles in the ninth off of Frank Herrmann by Josh Kroeger and Daniel Nava gave the Sox the lead, and Garrett Mock threw two scoreless frames to earn the win.
Doug Mathis got shelled, giving up six runs over five innings of work. A two-run triple for Nate Spears in the eighth made things interesting as he narrowed the lead to 6-3, but Alex Wilson gave the runs right back in the bottom of the inning to raise his ERA to 6.06.
Tags: Aaron Cook, Andrew Miller, Columbus Clippers, Daniel Nava, doug mathis, mauro gomez, Pawtucket Red Sox, pedro ciriaco, Red Sox, Ross Ohlendorf, Ryan Lavarnway, Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees, Toledo Mud Hens, Will Middlebrooks