After consecutive nights of balanced offensive performances, the Pawtucket Red Sox were held in check and dropped the series finale with the Syracuse Chiefs, 9-1, on Sunday afternoon at NBT Bank Stadium.
The PawSox (16-18), who racked up 17 runs on 28 hits the previous two games, were kept quiet by the Chiefs (18-16), who secured their third win to cap the four-game series. Pawtucket has dropped six of its last seven games and will return home to McCoy Stadium on Monday - with rehabbing Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia expected to be in the lineup - following the seven-game road trip.
Pawtucket third baseman Ivan De Jesus Jr. went 2-for-3 with a double and a walk to highlight his five-hit series, and first baseman Jordan Betts (1-for-4) extended his on-base streak to a team-best 18 games with a one-out single in the top of the eighth inning. Betts, who was promoted from Double-A Portland on April 23, has settled into the middle of the Pawtucket order and is hitting .347 over his last 13 games with seven extra-base hits. Syracuse, however, out-hit the PawSox, 16-6, as the Chiefs recorded the most hits against Pawtucket in a nine-inning game so far this season.
Pawtucket right-hander Marcus Walden made his second start of the season and just his third overall Triple-A appearance and turned in 2.1 innings of one-run ball. After retiring the leadoff man in the bottom of the third and with a pitch count creeping toward 50, Walden gave way to left-hander Josh Smith (L, 0-2). The versatile southpaw surrendered five runs on seven hits across 2.2 innings, and Brandon Workman (2 IP, 2 ER) and Bobby Poyner (1 IP, 1 ER) followed out of the bullpen.
Syracuse starter and longtime big leaguer Edwin Jackson (W, 2-1) fired seven innings of one-run ball with a half-dozen strikeouts. The 34-year old, who first cracked the majors in 2003 as a 19-year old with the Dodgers, walked four and stranded six on the basepaths in the first four innings. From there, however, Jackson settled in and retired nine of the final 10 he faced.
The Chiefs jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the second inning when shortstop Bengie Gonzalez delivered an RBI single to left.
Pawtucket leveled the game in the top of the third inning on a well-struck sacrifice fly to center from right fielder Aneury Tavarez that scored shortstop Tzu-Wei Lin, who had walked and stolen second base.
But in the bottom of the third, Syracuse cracked a pair of run-scoring, extra-base hits off Smith. Second baseman Irving Falu's RBI double to right preceded left fielder Hunter Jones' run-scoring triple to center that built the lead to 3-1 and started a string of eight unanswered runs from Syracuse.
With two outs in the bottom of the fourth, Syracuse connected on consecutive doubles, the second of which - from first baseman Matt Hague - scored third baseman Adrian Sanchez and tacked on a run.
The Chiefs added two more runs in the fifth and extended the lead to 6-1 on an RBI groundout and another RBI single from Gonzalez.
In the home half of the seventh, Jones scalded an RBI double to right and then scored himself on a third RBI knock from Gonzalez, as Syracuse stretched its cushion to 8-1.
Falu picked up his third hit of the day and plated Hague in the bottom of the eighth inning, making it 9-1.
Following the road trip, the PawSox return to McCoy Stadium to open a three-game series with the Buffalo Bisons (Toronto Blue Jays) on Monday at 6:15 p.m. Pawtucket left-hander Jalen Beeks (2-2, 1.72) aims to continue his outstanding start to the season opposite Bisons righty Deck McGuire (3-1, 2.70). Radio coverage on WHJJ (920 AM and 104.7 FM) and throughout the PawSox Radio Network begins with the pre-game show at 5:45 p.m.
The three-game series runs through Wednesday. 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.