Saturday, July 2, 2011

Post-game pop-ups: Yankees 3, PawSox 0

Swift summation
Catcher Ryan Lavarnway led off the bottom of the seventh and final inning with a single to right field, thereby evoking Fred Flintstone’s trademark cheer via the McCoy Stadium sound system.

Apparently, that’s how desperate the PawSox were for even a sliver of satisfaction at the expense of a Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees pitcher. And it was about all that they and their season-high audience of 10,111 would get.

The Yankees’ de facto closer, veteran southpaw Randy Flores, shook that off and proceeded to strike out Lars Anderson and Hector Luna. A subsequent grounder by third baseman Brent Dlugach would finalize Scranton’s 3-0 triumph, which came on top of their 7-0 victory in Part I of the doubleheader less than three hours prior.

On the day, in a span of 14 innings, the Sox utilized 12 hitters, but mustered only three hits. The first two of them came off the bat of Tony Thomas, who ultimately had to leave Game 2 after the fifth inning when he collided with Dlugach in pursuit of Greg Golson’s single.

Conversely, eight different players chalked up each of Scranton’s first eight hits on the night. By night’s end, all but the No. 9-slotted Addison Maruszak had contributed to their nine hits. The visitors’ No. 8 hitter, second baseman Doug Bernier, matched the entire Pawtucket bat rack with two hits.

What can the PawSox say? Just tip their batting helmets and call the Yankees’ pitching staff their daddy for the day.

PawSox pluses
As the Yankees continued to snowball their own bushel of hits, the PawSox’ team defense valiantly compressed the only deficit that mattered to 1-0 for as long as starter Tony Pena, Jr. was on the hill.

Pena authorized a total of nine baserunners (seven hits, two walks) through the first five innings. Yet eight of them were cut down by either one of three double-plays, a fielder’s choice, or a force-out.

But Pena’s mates could do nothing about the balk he committed in the fifth to offer Krum, fresh off a four-pitch walk, a free pass to scoring position. That brought out pitching coach Rich Sauveur on the spot.

Pena soon had runners at the corners, bailed himself out of that situation by retrieving Mike Lamb’s soft grounder and forwarding it to Lars Anderson for the third out.

Sox stains
Pena’s immediate successor, Randy Williams, struck out two, but also surrendered two extra-base hits in his first and only inning of relief work. The first of those hits was a two-run homer by Brendan Laird to inflate the previously surmountable deficit to 3-0.

Jose Iglesias represented Pawtucket’s single-best scoring chance of the night when, leading off the bottom of the sixth, he reached second base on Doug Bernier’s throwing error to first. Two plays later, now with James Kang aboard first with a walk, Iglesias squandered his gift when Scranton reliever Logan Kensing picked him off.

Cleanup man Lars Anderson struck out looking in his final at-bat of the night, just as he had done his first time up in the afternoon tilt.

The second game’s multi-strikeout club consisted of Dlugach and Matt Sheely, who whiffed on all three of his trips to the plate.

Yankees notes
Austin Krum followed through smoothly on his afternoon performance of two hits, two runs scored, and one RBI. In the nightcap, he led off the first with a walk, stole second, and scored the only run Scranton would need on Mike Lamb’s single.

For the second time in as many games, Laird curtained the scoring with a two-run homer. Pena’s last adversary, Jesus Montero, was on board with a walk to commence the sixth when Laird deposited the ball over the left field fence.

Starter George Kontos amassed four innings of work while Kensing, who logged two innings of relief, claimed credit for the win in his first decision of the season. Flores was credited with his third save.

When Thomas, who started the game in left field in lieu of the ailing Daniel Nava, led off the home half of the first, he had effectively broken up both of the Yankees’ no-hit bids on the day. And until Lavarnway singled six innings and 18 outs later, Thomas had amassed three of Pawtucket’s last four hits, dating back to the eighth inning of Friday night’s 8-4 fall to Rochester.

Thomas’ injury elicited Che-Hsuan Lin into action. Lin assumed his usual centerfield post, and thus nudged Matt Sheely to Thomas’ vacant spot in left.

Kang, recalled from Single-A Salem on Friday, made his Pawtucket debut, batting ninth and playing second base. He logged one impressive defensive highlight when he caught Dlugach’s throw, then relayed it back to Iglesias to catch Terry Tiffee out at third in a critical fourth-inning fielder’s choice.