PAWTUCKET, R.I. — Pawtucket Red Sox starter Héctor Velázquez continued his brilliant start to the season, as the PawSox clipped the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders, 3-0, in the opener of a three-game set Monday night at McCoy Stadium.
Pawtucket (14-13) scored two runs in the fourth and another in the fifth, while limiting the RailRiders (15-13) to just five hits. The PawSox have now won five of their last six games and have only given up 14 runs in the last nine games.
After tossing six perfect innings in his last start, Velázquez (W, 2-0) added 6.1 innings of shutout ball. He allowed three hits, walked two, fanned four and extended his streak of consecutive scoreless innings to 17.1, lowering his ERA to 1.23. Velázquez yielded a one-out single in the third, the first baserunner against him in a span of 9.0 innings. His last three starts have all ended in shutout victories.
“He’s got pitchability. He knows who he is,” Pawtucket manager Kevin Boles said. “He’s able to command a variety of pitches. He does a great job. I love how he keeps the hitters uncomfortable. He sets up inside. He was moving feet around, moving hips around, pitching inside early on, made them conscious of the inner half of the plate and then just utilized his mix from there.”
PawSox first baseman Sam Travis (2-for-4, 2B, HR, RBI) recorded his seventh multi-hit effort of the season and has now hit safely in 10 of his last 12 games.
“I think he’s managing the strike zone a lot better,” Boles said. “He’s got better balance. I think he’s not trying to do too much. He was trying to create some numbers early on in the season. I think he was trying to get off to a good start, and he was expanding his zone early on. But now he’s working to all fields.”
In the second leg of his rehab assignment with Pawtucket, designated hitter Brock Holt (vertigo) slotted third in the order and went 0-for-4.
Pawtucket relievers Brandon Workman (1.1 IP) and Blaine Boyer (S, 2) capped off the shutout — the team’s fifth of the season.
RailRiders starter Daniel Camarena (L, 3-1) allowed three runs on six hits and a pair of walks over six frames.
The PawSox broke the scoring seal in the fourth. Travis led off the frame by smacking an opposite-field home run just inside the right-field foul pole — his second long ball of the season. Two batters later, third baseman Matt Dominguez made it 2-0 with a solo blast to right field, as well.
In the fifth, with a man at second and two outs, left fielder Steve Selsky mashed a wall-ball RBI double through the wind to extend the lead to 3-0.
The RailRiders loaded the bases in the top of the sixth, but Travis snared a line drive to start an unassisted double play, end the threat and keep Scranton/Wilkes-Barre off the scoreboard.
Boyer collected three strikeouts in securing the victory.
The PawSox continue their seven-game homestand at McCoy Stadium on Tuesday at 6:05 p.m. Pawtucket left-hander Brian Johnson (1-0, 2.28) is scheduled to oppose RailRiders righty Brady Lail (1-2, 6.51).