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It was more mediocre baseball from the Pawtucket Red Sox this week, as the Sox posted a 3-4 record against divisional opponents as the season nears completion. After getting swept in Syracuse, Pawtucket bounced back to split four in Buffalo and now returns to Rhode Island to face the first place Yankees.
On Friday, Danny Valencia was called up to Boston and Ryan Kalish was sent down to replace him. Tony Pena, Jr. and Tony Thomas remain on the DL.
With a three-homer week, Mauro Gomez has emerged into a Triple Crown threat. Gomez is currently second in batting average (at .311, behind Leslie Anderson’s .314), second in home runs (at 24, behind Dan Johnson’s 27 – Johnson was called up to Chicago), and third in RBI (at 73, behind Ernesto Mejia’s 87). The last batter to win the International League Triple Crown was Jim Rice, who achieved the feat in 1974.
Sox starter Chris Hernandez was shelled for six runs in two innings. Mark Prior didn’t provide much relief, allowing two more runs in the third. Making his first appearance of the year, Andrew Bailey pitched a perfect inning, capped by a strikeout of Brett Carroll. Syracuse got great pitching from John Lannan, who went eight innings and struck out nine.
Pawtucket’s only runs came on Mauro Gomez’ 22nd home run in the sixth inning. Jason Repko went 2-for-4 to raise his average to .270.
The Chiefs scored five times in the third, but all of the runs were unearned due to a fielding error by Danny Valencia, who was playing in his first game since being traded from Minnesota. Syracuse starter Jeff Mandel was excellent, allowing two runs on four hits over seven innings to improve his record to 3-4.
Andrew Bailey pitched another scoreless inning, this time striking out two. Nate Spears went 2-for-3 to increase his average to .235.
Jason Repko led off the game with a home run, but Rochester took the lead in the first on Chris Parmelee’s 13 homer. Pawtucket retook the lead on back-to-back doubles from Butler and Spears, and starter Daisuke Matsuzaka pitched 4.2 scoreless innings after Parmelee’s home run to preserve the lead.
The Red Sox added some insurance in the sixth when Danny Valencia doubled home Iglesias and Linares.
Steven Wright, the man Pawtucket got in return for Lars Anderson, allowed two runs in five innings in his first appearance of the season. The Sox scored lone runs in the second and third off of Rochester starter Pedro Hernandez to tie the game. Josh Fields fired two innings of perfect relief to keep the game tied at two.
Enter Daniel Bard, who hit Evan Bigley to load the bases. Wilkin Ramirez then singled to increase the Red Wings lead to 4-2. Dan Butler doubled home Rivera in the ninth to close the gap, but Daniel Turpen induced Jon Hee to fly out to end the game and earn his second save.
Sox starter Zach Stewart struggled to get through three innings, giving up three runs on five hits. Pawtucket cut the Bisons lead to one in the fifth on Che-Hsuan Lin’s RBI single, but Mark Prior gave the runs right back in the bottom of the inning to increase his ERA to 4.01. Buffalo blew it open in the sixth with three unearned runs thanks to Mike Rivera muffing a feed from pitcher Alex Wilson for the force at home.
Andrew Bailey retired all four batters he faced. Mauro Gomez went 2-for-4 to raise his average to .306.
Mauro Gomez opened the scoring in the first with an RBI single that plated Iglesias. Buffalo got the run back in the bottom of the inning on Josh Satin’s sacrifice fly.
That however, would be all the Bison’s bats could muster against Sox starter Chris Hernandez, who bounced back with a quality outing. Hernandez struck out seven while walking just one over six frames, but Collin McHugh matched him pitch for pitch, and both starters left the game with the score still tied at one apiece.
Pawtucket finally broke through in the eighth on back-to-back home runs from Mauro Gomez and Andy LaRoche off of Pedro Beato. Jose de la Torre tossed two scoreless innings to seal the victory.
Pawtucket once again drew first blood in the first on a Mauro Gomez double that drove in Iglesias and Linares. Gomez would strike out with the bases loaded in the fourth, but Andy LaRoche had him covered as he launched a grand slam over the bullpen to increase the Red Sox’ lead to 9-0. With one out in the bottom of the inning, Francisco Cervelli hit a ground ball to short that Jose Iglesias threw about three feet, but the play was inexplicably ruled a hit. The Yankees went on to score five times in the inning, and Sox starter Billy Buckner was charged with five earned runs due to the scoring miscue. (Yes Rasheed, the box score does lie.) Josh Fields continued his dominance out of the bullpen, striking out two over two scoreless innings.
Daniel Bard entered for the eighth, but this time he only almost blew it. Bard walked Kosuke Fukudome and former teammate Darnell McDonald before recovering to strike out Ramiro Pena. The renaissance was short-lived, however, as he proceeded to throw eight consecutive balls before being lifted for Will Inman. Inman put out the fire, albeit shakily, to earn his sixth save and to pull the PawSox to within one game of first place.
Tags: Andrew Bailey, Buffalo Bisons, Chris Hernandez, Daisuke Matsuzaka, Daniel Bard, Danny Valencia, jason repko, Josh Fields, mauro gomez, Pawtucket Red Sox, Red Sox, Rochester Red Wings, Ryan Kalish, Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees, Syracuse Chiefs