Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Post-game Pop-ups: PawSox 7, Red Wings 6

Swift Summation
Subsisting on an early stash of passive-aggressive batting and ambitious baserunning, the Pawtucket Red Sox warded off the Rochester Red Wings Wednesday afternoon. They sculpted an initial 7-0 lead that morphed into a 7-6 final at Frontier Field.

The first two pitches of Pawtucket’s third inning yielded two baserunners and eventual scorers. Heiker Meneses dropped an infield single to the right of the mound and Brock Holt followed up with a base hit to shallow left.

Alex Hassan’s opposite-field double to right knocked Meneses home for a 1-0 advantage and still no outs. Holt completed his round-trip with the help of Brandon Snyder’s sacrifice fly in the same direction. 

Two plays later, Hassan hustled home from second on Bryce Brentz’s single up the middle for a 3-0 lead.

The Sox tacked on two more runs on four more hits before using any outs in the fourth.

McCoy led off by working the count full and then chopping the payoff pitch to the left-center lawn for a single. He advanced to third via Meneses’ double and then scored Pawtucket’s fourth run on Holt’s base hit. Hassan’s two-bagger to the right-field corner plated Meneses and put himself and Holt in scoring position.

After an intentional walk to Ryan Lavarnway loaded the bases, Dan Butler bumped in two more runs for a 7-0 runaway.

Rochester ratcheted its offense in the bottom of the stanza. Wilkin Ramirez’ double to the left-field wall put Eduardo Nunez on third base and Brad Nelson walked to load the bases.

Eric Farris kept the maximum three baserunners at hand with a one-out single off reliever Chris Resop, putting the Wings on the board. Dan Rohlfing proceeded to drive home two teammates with a liner to right-center and Doug Bernier dropped in an RBI single, whittling the PawSox’ lead down to 7-4.

Nelson’s sacrifice fly scored Nunez in the fifth and Bernier constituted the day’s final run amidst a force-out play in the sixth.

PawSox Pluses
The Sox started swelling Scott Diamond’s pitch count in the second, largely by fouling off two-strike tosses. Butler flied out to shallow straightaway center on the seventh pitch of his at bat with two on and no outs in the second. On the next sequence, Corey Brown worked a 3-1 count before fouling off four straight and then fanning on the ninth bid.

The Red Wings starter had reached 40 pitches by the conclusion of the second inning. That mollified him enough for Pawtucket to pounce and prey beginning in the third.

Four visiting batters—Holt, Hassan, Lavarnway and Meneses—logged three hits apiece in their raid on Diamond and his bullpen. Holt, Hassan and Meneses each scored two runs apiece while Holt drove one in, Hassan two others.

If there was a way for a position player to gain credit for a save, which went to pitcher Drake Britton, it would have to go to Brentz. His toss from right field to the plate foiled Santana’s bid for a 7-7 equalizer and finalized an inning-ending double play in the eighth.

Sox Stains
After three sound stanzas, starter Brandon Workman lost his crispness in the fourth, bringing on a premature end to his outing. He faced four batters during the inning in question, throwing 13 balls, including four in the dirt and loading the bases on a single, double and walk. After letting Nelson on board, he gave way to Resop with a mere 3.1 IP to his credit.

Brown did not join the afternoon’s hit club until he doubled in the ninth. Before that, he struck out four times in as many plate appearances, stranding two teammates on base each of the first three times.

Red Wings Notes
Diamond, a fourth-year Triple-A regular in the Minnesota Twins system, endured his first loss in three career decisions against the PawSox.

Ramirez and Rohlfing (two RBIs) fueled the Rochester offense with three hits apiece, giving them half of the home team’s dozen total hits on the day.

Tommy Layne improved to 2-1 with credit for the victory after throwing two scoreless innings on two hits, a walk and a strikeout in the sixth and seventh.

The Sox slugged out a new single-game season-high with 17 hits.

Video courtesy of the minorleaguebaseball YouTube channel