Written by Michael Williams
Three Pawtucket hurlers held Norfolk to two hits as the Red Sox blanked the Tides 4-0 Monday night at Harbor Park.
Pawtucket starter Doug Mathis (3-2) was tremendous, as he yielded just one hit over seven shutout innings. The 28-year-old right-hander needed just 76 pitches in the outing, as he struck out three without walking a batter.
The only Tides batter to reach against Mathis was Ronny Paulino, who sliced a sinking liner under the glove of right fielder Josh Kroeger for a triple in the fifth inning. Kroeger appeared to lose the ball in the lights on the play.
Pawtucket jumped out to an early lead off of Norfolk starter Chris Tillman (3-6), as the Red Sox sent eight men to the plate to take the 4-0 lead. Alex Hassan and Pedro Ciriaco had RBI singles in the frame, while Kevin Youkilis added a run-scoring double to left-center.
Tillman suffered his league-leading 6th defeat in the contest, as he was once again the victim of a lack of run support. The 24-year-old yielded the four runs on eight hits in 5.1 innings while walking two and striking out four.
The Tides have now scored 17 total runs in Tillman's eight starts this season, including one over his last three outings.
Ciriaco and Mauro Gomez each had two hits for the Pawsox, while Youkilis finished 1-for-2 with two walks in a major league rehab assignment.
After trailing for the first six innings of the game, the Baysox (18-25) came storming back with a five-run seventh inning to beat Richmond (20-24) 8-5 Monday evening.
The five runs in the seventh inning, all coming with two outs, was the biggest tally the Baysox offense has posted in one inning this season. The Baysox situational hitting has struggled this season, but the team was on track Monday as they recorded six two out RBIs and hit 5-for-10 with runners in scoring position.
“We hit some balls hard even when we were trailing – we had some hard outs and drove some balls to the wall – so it was really fortunate that some started to fall,” said Manager Gary Kendall. “It was nice to see us put some hits together, especially some two out hits with runners in scoring position. There was a lot of intensity all night offensively.”
First baseman Robbie Widlansky recorded his first two-out RBI in the fifth inning and helped spark the Baysox rally with the team’s first RBI in the big fifth inning.
“Those are the at-bats that help you win games or extend innings and they help keep the team rolling,” Widlansky said. “Especially when you are down you need those. We have struggled a little at home this year so it was nice to get that comeback win.”
Richmond jumped out to an early lead in the top of the first inning against Baysox left-handed starting pitcher Cole McCurry. Gary Brown hit a leadoff single to center field and moved to second base after a wild pitch with Nick Liles batting. With two outs, Chris Dominguez drew a walk and both runners scored on a Juan Perez double to left field. Johnny Monell recorded another two out double to left field that plated Perez and made the score 3-0.
The Flying Squirrels extended their lead in the top of the second inning. Jose Flores hit a leadoff double to left field and Joel Weeks followed with a sacrifice bunt that moved Flores to third base. Flores scored on a sacrifice fly by Brown that gave Richmond a 4-0 lead.
The Baysox closed the gap with two runs in the bottom of the second inning against right-handed starting pitcher Jason Stevenson. Shortstop Manny Machado hit a lead off single to left field and designated hitter Caleb Joseph followed by drawing a walk. Both runners advanced on a Zelous Wheeler sacrifice bunt and scored on a single down the right field line by right fielder Steven Bumbry to make the score 4-2.
Richmond got one run back on the top of the fourth inning. Brown hit a one out single to center field and moved to third base on a single to right field by Nick Liles. Brown scored on a sacrifice fly by Daniel Mayora that extended the Richmond lead to 5-2.
Bowie again cut Richmond ’s lead in the bottom of the fifth inning. Second baseman Jonathan Schoop was hit by a pitch to start the inning and left fielder Buck Britton followed with a walk. Center fielder LJ Hoes grounded into a double play that saw Schoop retired at third base but also allowed Britton to advance to second base where he scored when Widlansky singled to left field to make the score 5-3.
The Baysox stormed back into the lead in the bottom of the seventh inning against Richmond reliever Austin Fleet. Schoop hit a lead off single to shortstop and with one out, he moved to second on a wild pitch with Hoes batting. Hoes grounded out to first base to move Schoop to third base and Tom Vessella then replaced Fleet on the mound. Vessella surrendered a single to right field by Widlansky that plated Schoop and Daryl Maday then replaced Vessella on the mound. The two out rally continued against the third pitcher of the inning as Machado doubled to left field to move Widlansky to third base where they both scored on a single to left field by Joseph. Wheeler followed with a two run home run to left field that gave the Baysox an 8-5 lead.
“I was just looking for a pitch that I could drive,” Wheeler said. “With two outs, I wasn’t trying to do too much. Thank God the guys kept getting base hit after base hit and they got me up to bat so that I could have that opportunity.”
McCurry pitched four innings and allowed five runs on eight hits while striking out one batter and walking one. Left-handed reliever Chris Petrini pitched three scoreless innings in relief of McCurry and allowed just one hit while striking out two batters and walking one in his second win of the season. Left-handed reliever Pedro Viola pitched a perfect eighth inning for the Baysox where he struck out two batters. Closer Greg Burke pitched the ninth inning and allowed just one hit as he recorded his seventh save of the season.
“What made the comeback even sweeter is that Viola came out in the eighth inning and, similar to last year, went three up, three down,” Kendall said. “It was a crucial inning after scoring five and getting a three run lead not to let them get back in the game.”
Maday pitched one-third of an inning and allowed three runs on three hits in the loss.
After Frederick Keys starting pitcher Tyler Wilson took a no-hitter into the fifth inning, the Keys allowed six runs to score in the sixth to eventually lose 10-6 to the Carolina Mudcats at Harry Grove Stadium.
For Wilson, his no-hitter ended abruptly in the sixth when Anthony Gallas homered for Carolina’s first hit and from there, the runs came in bunches for Carolina, who improved their record to 22-21 on the year. The Keys fall to 14-26.
Wilson was in fact charged with the loss, and now through two starts, the former UVA star has a 0-1 record with a 2.70 ERA.
Despite giving up six runs in the sixth, the Keys marched back to within a run, trailing only 6-5 entering the ninth inning. Yet four more runs from Carolina in the last frame put the game out of reach.
The Keys took an early 2-0 lead, scoring once in the first and once more in the third. Aaron Baker gave the Keys their first lead when he singled home a run. Then in the third, Johnny Ruettiger drilled a pitch into the right-centerfield gap which brought home a runner to provide a two-run lead for the Keys.
Yet the lead wouldn’t last as Wilson’s no-hitter came to screeching halt in the sixth when Anthony Gallas homered to give the Carolina not only their first run but also their first hit.
The next batter, Tyler Holt, tripled off of Wilson which was then followed by a Tony Wolters single to tie the game. In an instant, Wilson’s no-hitter turned into a tie game in a span of just three batters.
A three-RBI double from Ronny Rodriguez off of relief pitcher Jason Gurka provided a 6-2 lead for Carolina before the inning was over.
Yet the Keys would battle back, getting a two-out two-RBI double from Garabez Rosa in the next frame to draw within two at 6-4.
In the seventh, with runners on second and third, a slow groundout from Aaron Baker brought home a runner to cut the deficit to one.
But with Carolina scoring four times in the top of the ninth, they put the game out of reach. A three-run homerun from Jeremie Tice and then a solo homerun from Justin Toole gave Carolina their four insurance runs.
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