PAWTUCKET, R.I. — The Pawtucket Red Sox had to wait an extra hour for the start of their All-Star break, but the reward was worthwhile, as the PawSox closed out the first half of the season with a 2-1 walk-off win over the Buffalo Bisons in the 11th inning Sunday afternoon at McCoy Stadium.
After rehabbing Red Sox starter Eduardo Rodriguez (right knee subluxation) began the day with 6.1 crisp innings of one-run ball, first baseman Jantzen Witte ended it with an RBI single to left field to score shortstop Ryan Court and hand Pawtucket (44-44) the series win against Buffalo (38-52).
In his third rehab start — and his second with Pawtucket — Rodriguez cruised through six innings before allowing a run with one out in the seventh. In total, Rodriguez fanned seven over his 6.1 frames of one-run ball. The 24-year old, who walked five in four innings five days ago in a rehab outing, didn’t walk a Bison and generated eight swings-and-misses. With a fastball that sat comfortably and consistently between 92 and 93 MPH and occasionally climbed higher, Rodriguez threw 61 of his 95 pitches for strikes (64% — in line with his big-league strike rate of 63.5% in 2017).
“Really good,” Rodriguez said of his outing. “I threw all my pitches. It feels really good. I did everything with the slider, with the changeup, with the fastball. It feels really good.
After 87 pitches through six innings, Rodriguez returned for the seventh.
“That’s part of what I need to do — go deep into the game and get pitches,” said Rodriguez, who cited improved fastball command. “It was really good today to be able to go out for the seventh.”
PawSox reliever Marcus Walden (W, 7-3) rolled through four innings of one-hit ball in which he punched out four.
Buffalo starter Brett Oberholtzer ceded just one run in six innings on four hits and a walk. Reliever Chris Smith (L, 1-3) served up the walk-off winner.
The PawSox grabbed the first run of the game in the bottom of the third. Right fielder Aneury Tavarez led off with a triple to deep right-center and scored on an RBI groundout from Witte.
The Bisons tied the game, 1-1, in the top of the seventh against Rodriguez. After Buffalo shortstop Gregorio Petit poked a leadoff double down the right-field line, two batters later right fielder Ian Parmley pulled a game-tying RBI single through the right side.
Pawtucket stranded two in scoring position in the ninth and a man at first in the 10th before winning it an inning later. Court doubled to right-center and moved to third on a sacrifice bunt by second baseman Mike Miller. Buffalo intentionally walked Tavarez to line up a potential double-play, but Witte singled over the head of left fielder Michael Saunders.
Following the three-day All-Star break, the PawSox open the second half on the road in Syracuse on Thursday at 6:35 p.m. PawSox left-hander Brian Johnson (2-1, 3.06) is scheduled to start. Radio coverage on WHJJ (920 AM) and throughout the PawSox Radio Network begins with the PawSox Pre-Game Show at 6:05 p.m.
The PawSox return home next Monday (July 17) and remain at McCoy Stadium for a seven-game homestand through July 23. Good seats are available, and fans can visit the McCoy Stadium box office, which is open Monday-Friday from 10 a.m. through 5 p.m., and during all home games. Fans can also call (401) 724-7300 or log on to PawSox.com for tickets.