On both sides of the ball, the PawSox into overslept Sunday afternoon, cultivating only momentary and negligible highlights while the visiting Louisville Bats smoothly and slowly buried them en route to a 7-2 loss at McCoy Stadium.
Louisville DH Denis Phipps opened the scoring for the second straight day, lining a single to shallow left to score Dave Sappelt from third in the top of the first.
Pawtucket pulled even in the bottom half thanks to an ever-gradual baserunning circle tour by Che-Hsuan Lin. The centerfielder led off with a walk, stole second with Daniel Nava at the dish, advanced to third on a balk with Ryan Lavarnway at bat and scored on Lavarnway’s single.
But from there, Bats starter Daryl Thompson retired each of his next 11 challengers. Within the same time frame, Pawtucket’s Tony Pena, Jr. charged up a four-inning tab that included nine hits, four doubles, two walks and four runs.
Louisville promptly reclaimed the lead in the second courtesy of Kristopher Negron’s sacrifice fly, which was enough to sent Corky Miller home from third. Two innings later, doubles by Daniel Dorn and Costanzo augmented the upper hand to 3-1. Costanzo advanced to third on a single by Jose Castro and scored ahead of Sappelt’s third single in as many plate-appearances.
The Bats added a fifth run in the sixth inning at the expense of reliever Clevelan Santeliz. In the bottom half, the PawSox posed one of their more outstanding threats when Lars Anderson drew a two-out walk and advanced to second on Hector Luna’s single. Yet both men were stranded when former Sox outfielder Jeremy Hermida robbed Nate Spears at the right field warning track.
Hermida proceeded to expand the gap to 6-1 with a solo home run to left in the seventh.
Lavarnway cut the deficit to 6-2 in the eighth when he doubled to the left field corner, stole third with Luna at the plate, then hustled home when Luna hit an infield single on the next pitch. But with Phipps on third in the top of the ninth, Miller renewed the five-run edge with an infield single to short.
Twice in as many innings, Pena let two men reach scoring position with no outs. But both times, Lavarnway played a key role in helping his batterymate confine the damage to one run.
In the first, the catcher collaborated with shortstop Jose Iglesias to catch Phipps stealing for the first out of the game. And in the second inning, when Nava caught Castro’s shallow fly to left and threw to the plate, Lavarnway appealed Costanzo’s would-be scoring tag from third and relayed the ball to Luna to complete an unusual inning-ending double play.
Luna initiated another double play with two Bats on board in the third, catching Hermida’s liner and throwing to Lars Anderson, who tagged Phipps at first.
Coming on in relief of Pena to commence the sixth, Santeliz loaded the bases with nobody out by way of a walk, a fielding error and a hit-batsman. Although that only amounted to one run, second-baseman Nate Spears might have averted that run if not for a Bucknerian gaffe on Costanzo’s grounder that sent Miller from first to third.
In two innings of work, Santeliz threw 20 strikes, 19 balls while authorizing a walk, a hit-batsman, two extra-base hits and two insurance runs.
With Spears and Iglesias on the corners with two outs in the fifth, the lately productive Lin had a chance to kindle a welcome offensive disturbance. Instead, with a 2-1 count in his favor, he stood pat and watched two strikes zip by to end the inning and keep intact what was then a 4-1 deficit.
Designated hitter Luis Exposito joined Nava as the only Pawtucket batters not to reach base on the day. And just when the Sox were thawing out in the eighth, he too stranded men at the corners with a grounder to short.
In 6.2 innings-pitched, Thompson allowed one run on four hits―none of them for extra bases―and struck out seven PawSox.
Sappelt, Phipps, Dorn, Costanzo and Castro all logged multiple hits for Louisville (team total of 17). Sappelt went 4-for-5 with a quartet of singles. While Costanzo doubled twice and singled once.
Miller went hitless in his first four at-bats, but scored two of Louisville’s runs after drawing a walk in the second and the sixth.
Negron was the last Bat to record a hit on the day, singling to load the bases with two outs in the ninth.
Relievers Nick Christiani and Jeremy Horst combined for one earned run on three hits in 2.1 innings of work.
In eight games and 10 days since returning from the disabled list, Iglesias has hit a respectable (12-for-26) but has also struck out at least once (eight times total) in each of the last six games. Both trends continued Sunday afternoon when the shortstop sandwiched a fifth-inning single with a pair of Ks in the second and seventh.
Luna hit 2-for-4, notched his first RBI in five games and ran from first to third on Spears’ second hit of the day, a sharp single to right field in the eighth.