As Durham Bulls pitcher Lance Cormier’s bid was repelled and plummeted out of sight over the PawSox bullpen behind left field, a specimen of the present and increasingly promising future of the Boston organization shared a decisive trot home.
With Carl Crawford on first base while putting in his first of two rehab appearances in Pawtucket, the unremittingly radiant Ryan Lavarnway homered for the third time in as many games. That two-run fifth-inning blast granted the PawSox a 3-1 lead en route to a 3-2 triumph before 10,123 fans at McCoy Stadium Friday night.
On the whole, Lavarnway had his third consecutive multi-hit game and his 11th overall in 28 appearances with the PawSox. In the third inning, he had singled to nudge Crawford to second base.
Crawford, who gave way to Ronald Bermudez in the sixth, reached base safely in all three of his plate appearances and batted in the first run of the game. After Che-Hsuan Lin reached second base on a throwing error to lead off the home half of the first and advanced to third on Daniel Nava’s single, Crawford dropped an offering from southpaw Alex Torres into right field, allowing Lin to give Pawtucket an initial 1-0 lead.
The Bulls made two sacrifices to bite their way back into the game. Russ Canzler’s grounder in the third plated Brandon Guyer, who later hit a fly ball to left deep enough to send J.J. Furmaniak home from third in the seventh.
From his defensive post at first base, Lars Anderson stopped a lot of bleeding when the Bulls poked Pawtucket with their horns. He caught Daniel Mayora’s bunt attempt in front of the mound for the first out of the second with two Bulls already on base.
In the third, Anderson ensnared leadoff man Ray Olmedo’s liner and singlehandedly carried out Canzler’s sacrifice grounder that scored Guyer to draw a 1-1 knot, but amounted to no further damage.
Anderson did the same thing to the subsequent challenger, Leslie Anderson, to stop the bleeding and end the inning. And then, in the fifth, he teamed up with pitcher Kevin Millwood, who covered first base to catch Olmedo.
Millwood did plenty to recompense most of the looks he gave the Bulls. With two Bulls on board and one out in the first, he caught Dan Johnson looking at three straight strikes and then benched Canzler on a 0-3 count as well. He stranded two more Durham runners to end a scoreless second inning by initiating a 1-5-3 double play.
Millwood eventually neutralized the opposing bat rack long enough to register eight straight outs and allowed only one more hit before finishing the night with five Ks, one earned run and five hits in six innings-pitched.
Closer Randy Williams retired all four of the batters he faced, including three strikeouts for his sixth save of the year.
Hector Luna had an outstandingly uneventful evening when he had multiple opportunities to unleash some damaging carbonation. Facing four different Durham pitchers over the course of the night, he went 0-for-4 and was charged with leaving seven men on base.
In the first, he popped out to Johnson at first to strand both Nava and Crawford in scoring position and spill an opportunity to bust the levees early. His second time up, this time with the bases loaded and one away in the third, he popped out a foul to first yet again. He later flied out to left in the fifth and struck out swinging at a payoff pitch while Anderson stole second in the seventh.
Luna also had his share of lowlights at his third-base post. He let Chirino’s chopper pole-vault over him for two men on and no outs in the second; failed to throw out Guyer to grant him an infield single in the third; and had to be bailed out by shortstop Brendan Dlugach in a highlight-reel throw-out of Mayora in the seventh.
Reliever Jeremy Kerht authorized four hits in 1.2 innings of work, letting Durham saw the PawSox lead to 3-2 in the seventh and giving way to Randy Williams in the eighth with men on first and second.
Every Durham batter reached base at least once Friday night. The only two without a hit, Johnson and designated hitter Leslie Anderson, earned a walk.
For the second straight night, Durham’s starter stuck around for only two innings. Torres gave way to Cormier to commence the third and by night’s end the Bulls had used five different hurlers.
Both of Guyer’s hits were infield singles.
Pawtucket infielder James Kang was reassigned to the Single-A Greenville Drive Friday afternoon. Meanwhile, the Bulls lost two of their players, Jose Lobatan and Jake McGee, to promotion to Tampa earlier in the day.
PawSox pitching coach Rich Sauveur traded in his usual No. 13 jersey for No. 25, allowing Crawford to claim his preferred digits for his two-game stint.