Pawtucket Red Sox Press Release
PAWTUCKET, R.I. — Despite racking up the most strikeouts by a PawSox pitching staff since 2002, the Pawtucket Red Sox fell to the Buffalo Bisons, 4-3, in 12 innings in a historic game at McCoy Stadium on a cold Monday night.
Five Pawtucket pitchers combined to strike out 20 Bisons, the most since seven PawSox pitchers struck out 20 on August 19th, 2002, at Rochester in a 15-inning battle. Eighteen of Pawtucket’s 20 strikeouts on Monday came in the regulation nine innings. The PawSox hadn’t previously struck out 18 or more in a game of any length since at least 2004.
Buffalo (1-0), however, manufactured a 12th-inning run in conjunction with Minor League Baseball’s new rules, which state extra innings begin with a runner at second base. Monday’s four-hour marathon marked the first game in International League history played under the new extra-innings rules. Despite their dominant pitching performance, the PawSox (1-2) were held to just six hits — and only one in the final four frames.
Pawtucket starter Jalen Beeks, who was named the Red Sox Minor League Pitcher of the Year in 2017, piled up eight strikeouts in four innings of one-run work, generating a whopping 17 swings-and-misses of his 92 pitches (18.5%). After allowing a run in the first and a leadoff single in the second, the 24-year old southpaw fanned the next three batters he faced and again struck out the side in his fourth and final frame. In 2017, Beeks led PawSox starting pitchers in strikeout rate (24.1% of plate appearances).
Reliever Ty Buttrey then struck out five over the fifth and sixth innings, punching out three Bisons with his mid-to-high-90s fastball and another pair with his disappearing changeup. Right-hander Kyle Martin (1.2 IP) added a strikeout, and southpaw Robby Scott struck out two of the three batters he faced. Reliever Ryan Brasier (L, 0-1), who took the hard-luck loss under the new rules, punched out four more in 3.2 stanzas.
Buffalo starter Joe Biagini limited Pawtucket to two hits in five innings in which he allowed merely an unearned run. Left-hander Sam Moll (W, 1-0) recorded the final five outs.
Pawtucket center fielder Aneury Tavárez (2-for-5, R, RBI, BB) paced the offense.
Buffalo wreaked havoc on the basepaths in the top of the first inning. After his two-out single, Bisons right fielder Teoscar Hernandez stole second and third before — with a man from first in a rundown after attempting to steal second — he ran home to score the game’s first run.
Pawtucket leveled the game, 1-1, in the home half of the first. After right fielder Rusney Castillo reached on an error and moved to third on a double from Tavárez, designated hitter Ramon Flores reeled in Castillo with an RBI groundout.
Buffalo leadoff man Dwight Smith Jr. blasted a solo home run over the right-field bullpen in the fifth to make it 2-1 Bisons. The next inning, Bisons catcher Danny Jansen smacked a solo shot of his own to left.
The PawSox sliced the deficit to 3-2 in the bottom of the sixth on a sacrifice fly from left fielder Jeremy Barfield. In the seventh, Pawtucket worked a pair of walks and tied the game when Tavarez ripped an RBI single to center to score shortstop Chad De La Guerra.
Extra innings quickly turned into a chess match. Buffalo elected to drop a sacrifice bunt in the top of the 10th but couldn’t cash in. Pawtucket chose to do the same in the next half-inning, but Tavárez popped up his bunt bid. The Bisons let Jansen swing away to begin the 11th, and he doubled to right field, only to catch up to automatic baserunner Rowdy Tellez at third. The mix-up prevented Jansen from his triple to reach the cycle. Pawtucket also did not bunt in the 11th, while the Bisons did in the top of the 12th. The next batter, second baseman Tim Lopes singled through the drawn-in infield to score the automatic baserunner and put Buffalo ahead, 4-3.
The PawSox continue their three-game series with Buffalo on Tuesday at 6:15 p.m. For the first time — and as they will on nearly every Tuesday home game this season — the PawSox will change their name to Osos Polares de Pawtucket, in partnership with Minor League Baseball’s initiative to celebrate the team’s surrounding Hispanic community. Pawtucket left-hander William Cuevas (2-4, 4.06 in Toledo in 2017) is scheduled to oppose Bisons southpaw Ryan Borucki (8-8, 2.93 in Double-A New Hampshire in 2017). Radio coverage on WHJJ (920 AM and 104.7 FM) and throughout the PawSox Radio Network begins with the PawSox Pre-Game Show at 5:45 p.m.
The homestand runs through Wednesday. And with temperatures stuck in the 40s, the PawSox Kids Club “Kids Free” Program with CVS Health has expanded to offer all fans free general admission tickets for the games through Wednesday.