PawSox manager Arnie Beyeler has to be itching to get away more than Lenny Kravitz ever has.
The first-year skipper has repeatedly divulged his concerns regarding his team’s home record, which remains mediocre for a playoff contender in particular at 35-32.
And with Tuesday night’s 4-2 loss to the Syracuse Chiefs before 9,602 of their loyal followers, his pupils verified his discomfort by finishing the latest homestand at 3-5, including three losses in four tries to a hapless tribe of Chiefs.
In a span of four half-innings, the contesting teams alternated runs to forge a 2-2 knot. Pawtucket started with two men in scoring position in the bottom of the second, at which point Brett Carroll singled to score Hector Luna from third.
Steve Lombardozzi thoroughly utilized his speed to constitute the first Chiefs run in the third frame. He led off with a single to shallow right upon beating Luna’s throw from the second base vicinity, moved to second on Matt Antonelli’s one-out walk, stole third with Jesus Valdez at bat and scored with relative facility when Valdez put the ball in play.
The Sox retorted and renewed their lead to 2-1 in the bottom portion of the third. Daniel Nava doubled to the right field corner and scored ahead of Lars Anderson’s subsequent rolling single to center.
But Syracuse was just as quick to delete that deficit in the fourth with a series of two-out singles. With Corey Brown and Lombardozzi already on board, Roger Bernardina turned an RBI single into a virtual double whilst sending Brown home from second.
The run-trading trend abruptly fizzled after that as the PawSox were put down in order in the fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh and eighth innings. Syracuse starter Brad Peacock benched each of his last seven challengers before Garret Mock came on in relief to commence the sixth and went a perfect 7-for-7 with one fly, two Ks and four straight grounders.
Meanwhile, with the bases loaded and one out in the sixth, Tug Hulett singled to deep left-center to put Syracuse ahead, 3-2, and keep the bases loaded. Antonelli subsequently scored on a wild pitch by PawSox reliever Jason Rice for a two-run advantage.
Anderson finally perked up the Pawtucket bat rack when he dropped a payoff pitch onto the left-center lawn for a leadoff single in the ninth. Subsequent base hits by Luna and Will Middlebrooks loaded the bases with nobody out.
But like the Chiefs so many times before them, the Sox let a multitude of would-be runs evaporate as Carroll struck out and Luis Exposito grounded into a game-ending double-play.
Throughout the night, the Chiefs pitchers and fielders were not giving much to the PawSox, but the effort showed to some extent in a few key hitters. Whether they went for hits or not, Nate Spears, Nava, Luna and Anderson each managed to put the ball into the outfield on multiple occasions.
The first two pitchers on duty Tuesday night combined for an outing that was nothing short of hair-whitening for their higher-ups and home rooters. Starter Alex Wilson lasted a mere four innings, in which time he expended 86 pitches, only 50 for strikes, struck out only two batters and authorized 11 baserunners out of 23 total challengers.
The lone source of consolation concerning Wilson, namely that only two of those runners ultimately crossed the plate, had a temporary shelf-life. Rice was not much better in the fifth and sixth innings, throwing only 20 out of 41 pitches for strikes and yielding another two runs and five more runners.
Even the oft-reliable veteran southpaw Randy Williams started his shift with an unsavory strike-to-ball ratio, doling out only eight strikes out of 18 offerings in the seventh inning.
While Syracuse retired the PawSox in order seven times, the visitors had at least one baserunner in each of the first eight innings. The Chiefs eventually went down in order on Royce Ring’s watch in the ninth.
Antonelli failed to put the ball in play in his first four plate appearances, but patiently drew two walks in three confrontations with Wilson and a five-pitch freebie via Rice.
Brown left the game after he injured himself in successful pursuit of Exposito’s fly ball to the right-center fence for the second out of the fourth. With Brown out of the equation, the Chiefs had Bernardina shuffle from left to center, Jeff Frazier move from first base to left and Chris Marrero entered to fill the void at first.
Williams was officially outrighted to the PawSox by the parent club in Boston earlier in the day Tuesday.
Pawtucket made one other transaction by placing the hard-luck outfielder Ryan Kalish on the disabled list for the second time this season. Kalish, just a little more than four months removed from sustaining a shoulder and neck ailment that sidelined him until earlier this month, is suffering from a trapezius inflammation.
Boston outfielder J.D. Drew will reportedly join the PawSox for a two-game rehab stint when they wrap up their forthcoming road trip in Rochester next Monday and Tuesday.