Pawtucket Red Sox Press Release
PAWTUCKET, R.I. — With an energized crowd at McCoy Stadium awaiting his return, Red Sox standout Dustin Pedroia began his rehab assignment with the Pawtucket Red Sox on Monday, and the PawSox finished the night with a 6-5 walk-off win in 10 innings.
Pedroia, who joined the club as he continues his recovery from offseason knee surgery, played five innings at second base and batted third in the order. The two-time World Series champion, four-time All-Star and former American League MVP went 1-for-3 with a fourth-inning single. In his first at-bat, Pedroia lifted a 1-1 pitch to fairly deep right field for a flyout. After falling behind 0-2 leading off the fourth inning, Pedroia worked the count back to 2-2 before poking a single to right field with his vintage two-strike swing. With two outs and nobody on in the bottom of the fifth, Pedroia grounded out to second to conclude his evening. The four-time Gold Glove Award winner handled the only ball hit his way — a routine, backpedaling popup in the first inning.
“Pretty happy about it. First game in a long time, so everything felt great,” Pedroia said. “I felt good up there. I hit three balls on the barrel, so I’m happy with that. Obviously you’ve gotta get some more at-bats to lock in, but everything went great.
“I’m like four months ahead of schedule. I think the quickest one to come back from this is like 11 months, and I’m at almost seven. So we’ll keep building, and I’m pretty excited. It’s been a long time. I’ve watched a lot of games. It’s fun to go out there and play.”
Monday’s game marked Pedroia’s first game in Pawtucket since 2010, when he rehabbed for two games with the PawSox after he’d fractured his foot earlier in the season. Pedroia initially ascended to Pawtucket in 2005 and starred for the PawSox in 2006 before he made his MLB debut. Fast-forward 12 years later, and Pedroia is eyeing his 2018 season debut.
“After I got out there in the first inning, I didn’t even think about my knee one time,” Pedroia said. “That’s when you kind of know you’re good.”
When Pedroia left the game following his scheduled five-inning stint, the PawSox (17-18) led 3-2. After Buffalo (12-16) nabbed a pair of runs in the eighth to vault ahead, Pawtucket leveled the game, 4-4, in the home half of the eighth. The Bisons nudged ahead in the top of the 10th inning, but Pawtucket catcher Dan Butler drilled a game-tying RBI double, and shortstop Tzu-Wei Lin followed with a walk-off knock to straightaway center to cement a win in the series opener.
Red Sox reliever Tyler Thornburg, who had his rehab assignment transferred back to Pawtucket from Double-A Portland earlier in the day, took over in the eighth inning and allowed a leadoff homer, walk and single among the four batters he faced, recording one out. Of his 19 pitches (eight strikes), Thornburg threw 14 fastballs and five curveballs.
Pawtucket starter Jalen Beeks, who began the night tied for second among all minor leaguers with his 52 strikeouts, added seven more punchouts to his gaudy total over six innings of two-run work. The 24-year old southpaw allowed four hits and walked two but left with a 3-2 lead. Lefty Williams Jerez (W, 1-0) pitched the 10th.
Buffalo starter Josh DeGraaf made his Triple-A debut and allowed three runs on four hits and a pair of walks in 3.2 innings, and southpaw Sam Moll (L, 1-2) served up the two runs in the bottom of the 10th.
Lin (2-for-5, HR, 2 RBI) and right fielder Rusney Castillo (2-for-4, R, RBI) propelled the offense.
Buffalo grabbed a 1-0 lead in the top of the second inning after cleanup man and catcher Danny Jansen doubled and scored on an RBI single up the middle from Jason Leblebijian.
Bisons leadoff man Dalton Pompey started the top of the third inning by drilling a solo homer to the berm in left field to double the advantage to 2-0.
With two outs in the bottom of the third inning, Lin tagged a solo homer — his first of the season — to right to trim the gap to 2-1.
The PawSox plated a pair of runs in the bottom of the fourth to climb in front, 3-2. Pedroia and Castillo started the frame with consecutive singles, and first baseman Sam Travis walked to load the bases. Left fielder Ramon Flores then bounced into a 6-4 fielder’s choice that scored Pedroia, and third baseman Ivan De Jesus Jr. followed with a sacrifice fly to right field.
In the eighth, however, Pompey cracked a leadoff homer against Thornburg to tie the game, 3-3. Three batters later, Jansen supplied an RBI single to boost the Bisons in front.
Castillo’s fortuitous RBI double dropped between a pair of Bisons in the eighth to tie the game, 4-4.
After the Bisons went up 5-4 in the top of the 10th, Butler drilled his two-bagger to score automatic baserunner Cole Sturgeon, and pinch-runner Mike Miller scored on Lin’s game-winner.
The PawSox continue their three-game series with the Bisons on Tuesday at 6:15 p.m. Pawtucket right-hander William Cuevas (1-2, 3.69) is scheduled to start opposite Bisons righty Chris Rowley (3-1, 1.93). 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.