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The Pawtucket Red Sox continued the journey back to the IL North penthouse this week, moving to within half a game of first place Lehigh Valley. Pawtucket hosted what will hopefully the last rehab stint of the season, as Carl Crawford batted 4-for-12 with a stolen base over three games.
Boston called up reliever Junichi Tazawa before Sunday’s game and sent Mauro Gomez back down to take his roster spot. When Crawford finally ended his rehab on Monday, pitcher Chris Carpenter took his spot on the roster. Also on Monday, Will Latimer was sent up to Pawtucket, and Ryan Dent was sent up I-95 to Portland.
Four Red Sox were selected as All-Stars – C Ryan Lavarnway, IF Pedro Ciriaco, 1B Mauro Gomez, and SP Justin Germano. However, Ciriaco, Gomez, and Germano were all called up to Boston within a week before the All-Star break, so Lavarnway ended up being Pawtucket’s lone representative in Buffalo. Lavarnway batted sixth and went 1-for-2 with a strikeout.
Fred Lewis hit a fourth-inning homer off of Pawtucket starter Doug Mathis to increase Buffalo’s lead to 3-1. Mathis left the game in the fifth in line for the loss but was taken off the hook by a four-run bottom of the fifth that put the Sox on top 5-4. With two outs in the ninth, Clayton Mortensen induced Matt den Dekker to ground softly to first, but Lars Anderson flipped wildly to allow the game to continue. Mortensen walked Josh Satin before being relieved by Garrett Mock.
Mock then walked all four batters that he faced to blow his third save of the year and put the Bisons on top 7-5. Josh Rodriguez singled to cap a four-run ninth for Buffalo, and former Red Sox All-Star Fernando Cabrera pitched a scoreless ninth for his 17th save. Carl Crawford went 2-for-3 with a run scored.
Sox starter Billy Buckner suffered a relapse, allowing six runs over six innings to drop to 1-4. The Red Sox bats couldn’t do anything against Buffalo starter Jeurys Familia, who scattered five hits over 6.1 shutout frames. Carl Crawford walked in the sixth and stole second, but didn’t advance any further as Lavarnway and Linares both struck out swinging.
Daniel Bard walked two and uncorked two wild pitches, but only allowed one run in one inning of relief.
This time it was Zach Stewart’s turn to get rocked, giving up five runs over 3.1 innings. Juan Carlos Linares homered off of Jennry Mejia to lead off the eighth, but it was too little, too late. Carl Crawford went 2-for-5 and scored the Red Sox’ first run of the game in the third.
Due to Stewart’s brief outing, Garrett Mock and Will Inman played the role of bullpen savers, with Inman throwing 53 pitches in 2.2 innings, and Mock throwing 61 in three. Their efforts didn’t win Saturday’s game for Pawtucket, but likely won Sunday’s.
Pawtucket opened the scoring in the second when Buffalo 2B Brad Emaus threw away a would-be double play ball to allow Che-Hsuan Lin to score. Scott Podsednik singled to make it 2-0. The Bisons tied it at two apiece in the fifth on Adam Loewen’s sixth home run of the year. The Sox regained the lead in the sixth on Lin’s 2 RBI double, but reliever Alex Wilson gave the runs right back in the seventh on Home Run Derby champion Valentino Pascucci’s 14th blast of the year. Two batters later, Emaus hit a grounder to SS Jose Iglesias with Matt den Dekker on second and one out. Iglesias inexplicably tried to nab den Dekker at third, but the runner was called safe by umpire Chris Conroy. Red Sox manager Arnie Beyeler came out of the dugout to protest the call, and was ejected by Conroy, banishing Beyeler to watch the remainder of the game in his office.
The remainder of the game ended up being seven and a half innings, as both teams’ bullpens traded goose eggs. Manny Acosta, Fernando Cabrera, and Elvin Ramirez each tossed two scoreless innings for Buffalo, while Daniel Bard (1 IP), Mark Prior (2 IP), and Clayton Mortensen (3 IP) kept the game tied through the 13th.
Out of relievers, pitching coach Rich Sauveur sent Andy LaRoche, who had been 0-for-5 at the plate, to the bullpen. LaRoche, pitching for the first time since college, entered the game to start the 14th. Andy hit 92 MPH on the radar gun and mixed in a devastating changeup en route to a scoreless frame. Then, in the bottom of the inning, Nate Spears hit a leadoff homer to right-center to send the remaining fans home happy with a 5-4 victory (and, as a thank-you by the PawSox for staying until the end, free tickets to Tuesday night’s game).
Mauro Gomez returned with a bang, drilling an RBI double in the first and hitting his 20th homer in the fifth. Juan Carlos Linares extended the Pawtucket lead to 5-0 with a home run to lead off the sixth. Tony Pena, Jr. surprised with five shutout innings to finally earn his first win of the year. Chris Carpenter debuted and pitched a scoreless sixth. Daniel Bard came in to pitch the seventh, walked the first batter he faced, and gave up a two-run blast to former Red Sox Brett Carroll. Will Latimer made things interesting in two innings of relief, giving up three solo homers, but the nine innings were mercifully completed with the Sox still leading, 8-5.
Syracuse drew first blood in the third when Jose Iglesias threw away a would-be double play ball and Corey Brown singled to plate the first two runs of the game. Pawtucket tied it in the sixth on Ryan Lavarnway’s eighth homer of the season. Che-Hsuan Lin singled to chase Syracuse starter Yunesky Maya, and Hassan Pena’s first pitch of the game was smacked by Nate Spears to left-center for a bases-clearing triple. Jose Iglesias singled to plate Spears, and Pawtucket starter Doug Mathis suddenly had a 7-2 lead to work with. Mathis couldn’t get anybody out in the seventh, however, and was replaced by Will Inman. Inman threw a wild pitch to allow an inherited runner to score, but struck out Brown and Negrych to get out of the jam with minimal damage. Chris Carpenter and Garrett Mock pitched the eighth and ninth innings, respectively, to bring the Sox back to ten games above .500.
Tags: Andy LaRoche, Brad Emaus, Buffalo Bisons, Carl Crawford, Chris Carpenter, doug mathis, Fernando Cabrera, Jose Iglesias, Juan Carlos Linares, Junichi Tazawa, mauro gomez, Nate Spears, Pawtucket Red Sox, Red Sox, Ryan Dent, Ryan Lavarnway, Syracuse Chiefs, Will Latimer