PAWTUCKET, R.I. — The Pawtucket Red Sox rallied down the stretch with three runs in the eighth inning and one in the ninth but couldn’t overtake the Syracuse Chiefs in a 6-4 loss Thursday afternoon at McCoy Stadium in the series finale.
Syracuse (41-67) constructed a 5-0 lead with a four-run fifth inning and, despite Pawtucket’s late surge, held on to sweep the three-game series with the PawSox (54-56). Pawtucket has now dropped five straight games overall and eight consecutive home games.
PawSox first baseman Sam Travis (1-for-3, 2 RBI, BB) reached base twice, as did center fielder Rusney Castillo (2-for-4, 2B), who doubled and singled to raise his OPS to .843, the best of his U.S. career. Right fielder Brian Bogusevic (2-for-4, 2 R, HR, RBI) has now supplied eight hits — along with his consistent defense — since coming off the disabled list Friday.
Like Jalen Beeks on Wednesday night, PawSox starter Shawn Haviland (L, 6-7) allowed just one run in his first four innings before ceding four runs in the fifth. In total, the veteran right-hander gave up five runs on nine hits and a walk in 5.1 innings, after which reliever Marcus Walden escaped a bases-loaded bind. Left-handed reliever Robby Scott, who was added to the active roster before the game following Monday’s option from Boston, walked two and loaded the bases in the ninth but sidestepped any danger in a scoreless stanza.
Syracuse starter Jaron Long (W, 3-4) dazzled in seven brilliant innings of three-hit ball. The right-hander allowed an infield single in the bottom of the first, a double in the fourth and merely a single in his seventh and final frame. Right-handed reliever Neil Ramirez (S, 1) finished off the sweep.
Syracuse jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the top of the first when first baseman Neftali Soto tagged a solo blast to left-center — his fourth long ball of the series.
In the fifth, Chiefs third baseman Michael Almanzar tugged an RBI single into left field to score catcher Spencer Kieboom and double the lead to 2-0. Two batters later, leadoff man Zach Collier supplied an RBI double to make it 3-0, and second baseman Irving Falu then skied a two-run blast to right field.
Soto continued his tremendous series in the seventh when he ripped an RBI single to extend the margin to 6-0.
Pawtucket broke through in the bottom of the eighth. Following a leadoff single from right fielder Brian Bogusevic, shortstop Deven Marrero yanked an RBI double into the left-field corner to trim the deficit to 6-1. Then with the bases loaded, Travis dropped a two-run single into right field. But catcher Dan Butler was thrown out between second and third to end the threat.
Bogusevic pulled the PawSox within two, 6-4, when he vaulted a majestic solo homer to right that left the bat at 106 MPH in the bottom of the ninth.
Pawtucket now returns to the road for a three-game weekend series in Pennsylvania against the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders, beginning Friday at 7:05 p.m. at PNC Field. PawSox right-hander Justin Haley (1-0, 3.09) is scheduled to oppose RailRiders righty Luis Cessa (4-6, 3.80). Radio coverage on WHJJ (920 AM) and throughout the PawSox Radio Network begins with the PawSox Pre-Game Show at 6:35 p.m.
The PawSox return to McCoy Stadium on Monday to begin a seven-game homestand that runs through next Sunday (August 13). 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.