Pawtucket 3, Syracuse 2: Luck Strikes as Sox Snap Skid in Series Opener; Ellsbury Goes 0-for-4 in Rehab
by Joshua Kummins
PAWTUCKET, R.I. – Despite the presence of rehabbing Red Sox outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury at the top of the line-up, offense was hard to come by on Saturday night at McCoy Stadium as the Pawtucket Red Sox looked to snap a brief two-game losing streak in the first of a two-day series against the division rival Syracuse Chiefs.
Despite having hooked up eight previous times since Opening Day, the Chiefs had yet to make a visit to the Ocean State before the contest. Entering the night, both clubs had lost a pair in a row and were 3-7 in the ten previous games.
Ellsbury finished the game with no hits in four at-bats, including a called strikeout against Chiefs starter Tanner Roark in the third inning. The PawSox were able to break through in the end, stealing a 3-2 win on just five hits.
WATCH: Post-Game Video Interviews (with Ellsbury and acting manager Chad Epperson)
After starters Zach Stewart and Roark battled through the first six innings, Syracuse drew first blood in the top of the seventh with two runs on three hits.
Stewart retired the first batter on a long fly to Ellsbury in center field but put two runners on, thanks to back-to-back singles from SS Carlos Rivero and C Koyie Hill. In the next at-bat, 2B Manny Mayerson singled through the middle to score the game’s first run.
After a nifty grab in foul territory by 3B Andy LaRoche and a walk, reliever Mark Prior issued another free pass to DH Jim Negrych to bring home a second run with the bases loaded for a 2-0 lead.
Prior recovered to end the threat with no further damage as he fanned 1B Chris Marrero, whose brother, Deven, is a new member of the Red Sox system after being selected in the first round of the Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft this June.
Pawtucket one-upped the visitors with three runs in the bottom half of the frame, coming from the first three men in the order.
3B Andy LaRoche scored as infield partner Nate Spears was credited with a fielder’s choice and one RBI as Chiefs SS Carlos Rivero booted a ground ball through his legs. The play – which was his team-leading 11th error of the season – allowed a second run to score, tying the score at 2-2.
SS Jose Iglesias posted his second hit of the ballgame a few batters later as he lifted a bloop single between three outfielders, scoring RF Juan Carlos Linares with the go-ahead run that gave Pawtucket the lead they would never relinquish.
Stewart allowed seven hits and two runs over 6.2 innings before making way for Prior, who earned his first win in the Sox system, despite allowing two walks and a bases-loaded walk. He was one of two players acquired in the Kevin Youkilis deal in late June and has now allowed two runs or less in each of his first four outings.
Will Inman recorded his fifth save in as many chances, allowing just one hit in the final two innings. He retired the Chiefs on three straight outfield flyouts, including two to Milton, Mass. native Alex Hassan in center field.
With the loss, Roark now leads the entire International League with 11 losses after allowing four hits and two earned runs over six innings.
The PawSox are back in action on Sunday afternoon with the aid of another Major Leaguer on injury rehab. Clay Buchholz makes his first appearance in Rhode Island since 2010 and will pitch about three innings the 1:05 p.m. game. The Texas native has been on the disabled list since June 20 with a gastrointestinal illness.