Saturday, August 20, 2011

Post-game pop-ups: Chiefs 3, PawSox 1

Swift summation
In the Triple-A team’s fourth-ever regular-season visit to Boston’s ballyard Saturday afternoon, tomorrow’s Red Sox were victimized by one of yesterday’s Red Sox fans.

Massachusetts native Matt Antonelli contributed two of his team’s hits and accounted for two runs, effectively spelling the difference in the Syracuse Chiefs’ 3-1 triumph over the PawSox at Fenway Park.

The loss was a particularly ugly way of prolonging Kyle Weiland’s winless streak, which is now at seven overall games between Pawtucket and Boston dating back to his last win at Rochester on Independence Day.

Recently, Weiland was likely cheated out of a winning decision by the elements when an eventual 6-1 win at Charlotte was suspended by inclement weather after two innings. And he endured a tough losing decision at Gwinnett one week to the date of Saturday’s game owing primarily to the misfortune of countering a superior pitching staff.

But against Syracuse, Weiland was hexed by an overdose of personal gaffes and his teammates’ inability to mooch much off of Chiefs starter Brad Meyers.

Designated hitter Daniel Nava drew first blood for the Sox in the bottom of the first, belting a solo homer into the Red Sox bullpen. But it was simply all downhill from there for the hosts, who are now 2-2 all-time in the still relatively novel Futures at Fenway event.

Antonelli pulled the Chiefs even in the second, leading off with a single, advancing to second on a passed ball to Seth Bynum and scoring ahead of Bynum’s rolling base hit to center.

Weiland briefly gained control soon thereafter and retired each of his next 10 challengers for a 1-2-3 third and fourth. But not long after Steve Lombardozzi broke up that trend with a one-out walk in the fifth, Weiland paid the blinking fee.

Lombardozzi would advance to second on Roger Bernardina’s grounder to first, steal third with Chris Marrero at the plate and grant Syracuse a 2-1 lead with the help of Jesus Valdez’s single.

Antonelli constituted the Chiefs’ third run in the next inning. He led off with a double to left, advanced to third on a wild pitch by Weiland and then came home on Bynum’s single, promptly ending Weiland’s outing.

Meanwhile, after Luis Exposito led off the third with a double, only to be stranded, the PawSox afforded themselves three baserunners over the next five innings. All of them would be abolished before they could be stranded.

In the sixth, Jose Iglesias lined a leadoff single to center, but was picked off with Che-Hsuan Lin at the dish. Nava led off the home half of the seventh with a walk, but was eliminated with Lars Anderson on the Chiefs’ second defensive double play of the game.

Likewise, pinch-hitter Nate Spears led off the eighth with a single to right, but went down with Exposito on an inning-ending twin kill.

PawSox pluses
In relief of Weiland, Jason Rice at least stopped the bleeding and retired nine out of 10 challengers between the first out of the sixth and the conclusion of the eighth. With his third single in four at-bats, Bynum was the only Chief to reach base on Rice’s watch.

Sox stains
Weiland was done after garnering only an even five innings-pitched. He had thrown 92 pitches, only 51 for strikes. In his last three losses with the PawSox, he has lasted no more than 5.1 innings.

Brett Carroll and Ryan Kalish were both particularly quiet at the dish. Carroll batted 0-for-3 with a strikeout and two popups. Kalish, meanwhile, whiffed once and dropped a pair of grounders in his first three at-bats, then ended the game with a lineout to left.

Chiefs notes
Meyers improved to 5-4 on the year after allowing one run on five hits in an even six innings. Atahualpa Severino and Jeff Mandel garnered the hold and the save, respectively, upon allowing only one baserunner apiece in a cumulative three innings of relief work.

Over the course of his first three at-bats, Jhonatan Solano constituted the third out of the first, third and fifth innings. In his fourth at-bat, Solano struck out for the third time on the day to lead off the eighth.

Roger Bernardina finished with a line similar to Solano, going 0-for-4 with three Ks.

With Will Middlebrooks getting his first infield start in Pawtucket, Hector Luna had a rare start at second base. Luna went 0-for-1 with a walk and was caught stealing for the first time in seven attempts this season to bring the second inning to an abrupt end. Luna was replaced by Spears, effective at what would have been his third plate appearance in the bottom of the seventh.

Another pair of positional oddities had Lin playing right field while Kalish took his post in centerfield and Carroll patrolled the spot in front of the Green Monster. Lin was credited with three putouts, all of them liners, and posted a .984 fielding percentage on the day.