The Pawtucket Red Sox channeled Homer Simpson from his boxing days Tuesday night, accepting as much punishment as needed before springing to action late in the bout.
After Rochester Red Wings’ starter Alex Meyer limited them to one hit while striking out 11 in 6.2 innings, the visiting bullpen proved less menacing. When Rochester was ripe, the PawSox pounced in the eighth to transform a 1-0 deficit into an eventual 3-1 victory at McCoy Stadium.
With eight balls on nine pitches, Ryan Pressly conceded back-to-back one-out walks to Alex Hassan and Ryan Roberts.
Edgar Ibarra promptly replaced Pressly, but Garin Cecchini directed a 2-0 delivery to the centerfield warning track. Hassan and Roberts both hustled home to usurp a 2-1 lead.
Two pitches later, Ryan Lavarnway pushed Cecchini home from second base by lining a single to the shallow right-field lawn. That ended Ibarra’s outing after only two challengers and Matt Guerrier yielded a single to Bryce Brentz and a walk to Brandon Snyder to load the bases before a popup and strikeout compressed the wound.
Through the midway point of the game, Meyer had a slight upper hand on Allen Webster in a defensive duel. Meyer kept a scoreless draw intact through the fourth with 36 strikes on 50 pitches and seven strikeouts through 13 showdowns.
In those first four stanzas, a second-inning sacrifice grounder and a fourth-inning double gave the Red Wings the game’s lone two runners to reach scoring position. Meanwhile, Lavanway had constituted Pawtucket’s only baserunner with a second-inning single.
Brentz drew Meyer’s first walk on six pitches to lead off the home half of the fifth. But Snyder grounded into a 4-6-3 to stanch any threat before it took serious shape.
Red Wings right fielder Chris Parmelee’s double and walks to Pawtucket’s Mike McCoy and Ryan Roberts amounted to nothing in the sixth.
When Brad Nelson led off the seventh to shallow right, Rochester skipper Gene Glynn installed Chris Rahl as a pinch-runner. The ploy took little time to alter the complexion of the game.
Rahl stole second, advanced to third on a wild pitch and spotted the visitors a 1-0 lead with the help of Eric Fryer’s sacrifice fly to shallow right.
In the bottom half, Meyer’s pitch count cracked triple digits when Dan Butler joined Snyder in a succession of back-to-back two-out singles. But Pressly fielded a quick Corey Brown grounder to quell the threat.
But the McCoy masses would have no further delay on their gratification thereafter.
The Wings garnered one hit—no more, no less—in five of the six full innings Webster worked. The Pawtucket infield warrants more than a sliver of credit for preserving the scoreless knot up to that point.
Two force outs and a double play kept Rochester runners out of scoring position through the first 1.1 defensive innings. The shortstop McCoy snagged a grounder up the middle and heaved the third out of the second. Later, Roberts snared a line drive as part of a 1-2-3 fifth and Snyder did the same to strand Parmelee on second in the sixth.
On the other side of the ball, Lavarnway stood out as one of only three Pawtucket batters not to whiff against Meyer and the only one to cultivate a hit off the Rochester starter in the first six innings. Butler and Snyder only got to him when his last ounces of fuel had clearly evaporated.
Lavarnway also had the home club’s lone multi-hit effort, batting 2-for-4 with an RBI.
Wilfredo Boscan supplanted Webster with one out and one man on in the seventh. To say that he “relieved” the PawSox starter would be to miss the mark.
Boscan had already thrown seven of his first 11 pitches for balls and walked his first challenger when he authorized Fryer’s sac fly. The aforementioned wild pitch that hastened the scoring play came from his palm during Eric Farris’ five-pitch walk. He would exit the stanza with 12 balls on 21 total offerings and two walks on his tab.
The only reason he was not charged with the run was because he inherited Rahl from Webster. He easily could have allowed one himself after Farris swiped both second and third base amidst Dan Rohlfing’s free pass.
Red Wings Notes
Of Meyer’s 11 “Ks,” three benched the rehabbing Will Middlebrooks while two apiece fettered Brentz, Butler and Roberts. Meyer fanned Brown and Alex Hassan one time each.
Parmelee and leadoff Doug Bernier each touched Webster for a pair of hits, Parmelee charging up a couple of doubles, Bernier two singles.
Rochester's bullpen combined for three earned runs on three hits and three walks as well as 19 balls on 35 pitches.
Chris Resop picked up his first save of the season, fanning two and stranding two in the ninth.
The parent Boston Red Sox swapped out outfielder Daniel Nava in exchange for pitcher Alex Wilson Tuesday afternoon.
Middlebrooks ceded third base to Cecchini after the seventh. He is now 0-for-6 with five strikeouts through two conditioning contests with Pawtucket.
Roberts made his PawSox debut at second base two nights after being reassigned by Boston. He is now the oldest position player (age 33) to have seen action for Kevin Boles, ahead of a rehabbing Shane Victorino by 72 days. Of all members of the active roster, only pitcher Rich Hill is older with roughly a six-month differential.
One night after his second off-day of the season, Lavarnway crouched behind the plate for the first time in this homestand. The converted first baseman has assumed his original catcher’s task in four out of 19 games played this season.