Two sugar rushes at the dish and two stingy performances on the mound bolstered the Pawtucket Red Sox to a Tuesday night of two-way dominance. The finished product was a 7-1 slashing of the Syracuse Chiefs at McCoy Stadium.
The PawSox cultivated three runs apiece in the first and fifth innings, along with one in the fourth, while stifling Syracuse until the game was out of reach in the ninth.
Each of Syracuse starter Omar Poveda’s first three challengers made the round trip across the diamond to spot the Sox a 3-0 lead.
After witnessing back-to-back walks, Justin Henry dropped the first pitch on the right-center lawn, sending Brock Holt home and moving Alex Hassan to third on a double. Bryce Brentz cleared the bags and tripled the lead by extending his own double to third base on an error.
Dan Butler doubled to lead off the fourth and proceeded to augment the lead to 4-0 with the help of back-to-back sacrifices by Heiker Meneses and Peter Hissey.
One inning later, the PawSox chased Poveda with three consecutive extra-base slugs. Hassan’s second two-bagger of the night preceded back-to-back home runs via Henry and Ryan Lavarnway for a 7-0 lead.
The Chiefs bullpen combined to retire 12 straight challengers afterward. The visiting bat rack returned the favor by thawing out in the top of the ninth, loading the bases with no outs.
A subsequent one-out walk to Emmanuel Burriss forced Jose Lazano in from third to spoil the shutout. But Henry, Meneses and Lavarnway pulled off a textbook 4-6-3 double play to drop the curtain.
PawSox PlusesPlenty of patience parlayed Pawtucket to its tone-setting scoring spurt. Holt watched five Poveda pitches go by for a leadoff walk in the bottom of the first. Hassan followed by hacking at only one of six pitches to draw his own base-on-balls.
By the time Henry had his one-and-done turn, the Sox have swung at only two of Poveda’s first 12 tosses, the second swing amounting to the first run. And for the better part of the night, the besieged Chiefs hurler was tallying more balls than strikes, though he finished with 40 strikes on 73 total throws.
Poveda’s pitching counterpart, Allen Webster, redressed his opening-night debacle with six shutout innings. The Sox starter surrendered merely three hits and let only two Chiefs reach scoring position.
Save for a hit and a pair of walks, one in each stanza of work, reliever Tommy Layne was just as sharp in the seventh and eighth. Apart from a Steve Souza single, he kept Syracuse from launching the ball beyond the infield through a grounder, a liner and four “Ks."
Henry stood out among the slugging committee as the lone player on either side with multiple hits. He factored into four of the runs by driving in three, including himself on his homer, and scoring a pair.
With his dinger, Lavarnway splashed a season-long skid of 16 at bats without a hit.
Christian Vazquez stood out among his teammates for his unproductive night at the dish. The catcher went 0-for-4 with nary a sacrifice. His one-out, first-inning grounder left Brentz hanging on third to minimize Pawtucket’s early damage.
Drake Britton stood out among his pitching colleagues for fumbling the facility of the finish. He started his lone stanza, namely the ninth, by surrendering a double to Lozada and a single to Jhonatan Solano before two walks put the Chiefs on board.
Warner Madrigal, Josh Roenicke and Christian Garcia combined to authorize zero baserunners and benched four PawSox batters on strikes in four innings of relief.
Four Chiefs—Eury Perez, Souza, Solano and Burriss—reached base twice with a hit and a walk apiece.
The back-to-back homers from Henry and Lavarnway were the first two Syracuse has allowed in five games this season.
At the six-game mark, Brentz is the lone remaining Pawtucket player to have seen action every day this season.