PawSox news release...
PAWTUCKET, R.I. — In the best outing of his professional career, Pawtucket Red Sox starter Shawn Haviland fired a four-hit shutout, as the PawSox pounded the Buffalo Bisons, 11-0, on Thursday night at McCoy Stadium.
“It was pretty awesome,” Haviland said. “The guys played great behind me, made some great plays.”
Haviland, pitching for the first time since May 29 after a brief stint on the disabled list with pneumonia, cruised through his nine frames on just 94 pitches, piled up seven strikeouts and didn’t walk a batter. Haviland (W, 3-4) turned in the first shutout of his professional career and his first nine-inning complete game in pro ball en route to the first nine-inning shutout by a PawSox pitcher since Steven Wright in July 2013.
“[Catcher] Blake [Swihart] and I had a good game plan and we wanted to be aggressive with my breaking ball in the zone,” Haviland said. “Early on I was keeping them a little off balance and later in the game they started hitting a lot of ground balls.”
The 31-year old Harvard product struck out five of the first six he faced, only endured one three-ball count, only faced two above the minimum through eight and induced 12 groundballs.
“Well as they say, if it goes on the ground, it can’t go over the fence,” Haviland said. “So I’ll take the ground balls. That’s normally not my game, but I’ll definitely take it with that kind of infield we have out there.”
The PawSox (28-27), powered by a four-run fourth inning and a five-run seventh, topped the Bisons (31-27), winning for the 12th time in the last 15 games and climbing above the .500 mark for the first time since May 10, when they were 15-14. Pawtucket’s current nine-game home winning streak is the longest such stretch since the PawSox went on another nine-game run at McCoy in August 1998. The victory was Pawtucket’s eighth shutout win this season, tied for the most in the International League.
Swihart (2-for-3, 3 R, BB, HBP) reached base four times and recorded his first multi-hit game since April 28. Against a left-handed starter, Swihart recorded two hits batting from the right side. The switch-hitter was 3-for-17 as a right-handed hitter entering Thursday.
“Good balance. It’s just good to see him get healthy again, starting to log some ABs here,” Pawtucket manager Kevin Boles said of Swihart’s work from the right side. “I think hitting the ball to right field. He’s pressed a little bit offensively. It looked like he was a little bit calmer tonight in the box. I think he’s settling in a bit knowing he’s gonna get his at-bats. He showed real good hands on that ball to right field.”
Buffalo starter T.J. House (L, 5-5) allowed six runs (five earned) on eight hits and four walks in 5.2 innings.
The PawSox broke open a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the third when shortstop Ryan Court crushed a solo home run off the batter’s eye in center.
Pawtucket stretched its lead to 5-0 in the fourth. After loading the bases on a walk and two hit batsmen, first baseman Allen Craig ripped an RBI single up the middle, third baseman Jantzen Witte plated another with an RBI groundout and second baseman Mike Miller poked a two-run double off the wall in right.
The PawSox loaded the bases again in the sixth, and Court bounced a slow-roller up the third-base line to reel in Swihart and extend the margin to 6-0.
Witte and Miller worked bases-loaded walks in the seventh before designated hitter Rusney Castillo slapped a two-run single down the right-field line, making it 10-0. Center fielder Steve Selsky then sliced an RBI single to right-center to add another.
Before the game, Patriots wide receiver Danny Amendola threw out the ceremonial first pitch (a high fastball) and later signed autographs for fans who formed the longest line for any player appearance in recent McCoy Stadium history.
“I’ve always wanted to throw a first pitch out, and nothing like doing it in your hometown where you live,” said Amendola, who resides in Providence. “I’ve heard a lot about this team, have a lot of friends who come here and hang out, and I’ve always wanted to come to this stadium and see it. It’s great to be here.”
Amendola played baseball until he was 18 years old and was a second baseman growing up outside of Houston (Hall of Famer and former Astro Craig Biggio was his favorite player).
“I was like 18, going through a lot of things, a transition stage in my life. The curveball wasn’t part of it,” Amendola quipped.
The PawSox continue their four-game series against the Buffalo Bisons on Friday at 7:05 p.m. at McCoy Stadium. PawSox left-hander Jalen Beeks (0-1, 6.00) is scheduled to oppose Bisons righty Cesar Valdez (2-0, 3.38).