Pawtucket Red Sox Press Release
PAWTUCKET, R.I. — The Pawtucket Red Sox mashed a trio of late homers to support another strong start from Chandler Shepherd, and the PawSox downed the Louisville Bats, 5-1, to claim the series Thursday afternoon at McCoy Stadium before a crowd of more than 7,000.
The PawSox (27-30) surged ahead of the Bats (21-35) with a three-run sixth to take the rubber game of the three-game set and earn their eighth win in their last 11 games.
Pawtucket starter Chandler Shepherd (W, 4-4) continued a sparkling month-plus stretch of excellent work, allowing merely an unearned run in six innings. The right-hander from Louisa, Kentucky, struck out four and only issued one walk. In his last seven starts dating back to May 5, Shepherd has compiled a 1.79 ERA (eight earned runs in 40.1 innings) with 29 strikeouts and just seven walks.
“I just think he’s probably not trying to ration his effort, number one,” Pawtucket manager Kevin Boles said of Shepherd, who made the offseason transition from reliever to starter. “We’re getting him stretched out a little bit. But also there’s a fine line there about pitching. It’s a little bit different as a starter. Sometimes you fall into the trap about rationing your effort level, maybe going away from your mix a little bit. … He understands that now he’s getting stretched out, he’s giving us some length. The other thing he’s done, he’s pitched very well out of the wind-up.”
PawSox right-handed reliever Ty Buttrey followed Shepherd and buzzed through a pair of impressive scoreless innings with two strikeouts. Closer Ryan Brasier locked up the victory and lowered his ERA to 1.86.
Pawtucket first baseman Mike Ohlman (2-for-3, 2 R, HR, RBI, BB) powered the offense. Center fielder Rusney Castillo, who had recorded 10 hits over his last three games entering Thursday’s matinee, went 1-for-4 with a solo homer and an RBI groundout. Shortstop Iván De Jesús (1-for-4, R, HR, 2 RBI), who hadn’t played since last Wednesday, when he was hit by a pitch on the wrist, cracked a two-run shot in the sixth inning. Third baseman Tzu-Wei Lin (2-for-4, R, 2B) chipped in his 10th multi-hit game since being optioned May 8 and extended his team-best hitting streak to 10 games.
Louisville starter Justin Nicolino (L, 2-3), who made a combined 33 starts for the Marlins over the previous three seasons, ceded four runs on six hits and a pair of walks in 5.2 innings.
Pawtucket struck first in the bottom of the first inning on an RBI groundout from Castillo that plated Lin, who had reached on an infield single.
Louisville tied the game, 1-1, in the top of the third inning on a single from designated hitter Hernan Iribarren and a Pawtucket throwing error that allowed the lead baserunner Dilson Herrera to score all the way from first.
In the bottom of the sixth inning, Castillo scorched a solo homer on a line to left to vault Pawtucket back in front, 2-1. Three batters later, De Jesus pulled a two-run homer to left field to triple the lead to 4-1.
Ohlman teed off on a 408-foot solo big fly in the bottom of the eighth inning to add to the lead.
The PawSox continue their homestand and crack open a three-weekend series with the Indianapolis Indians (Pittsburgh Pirates) on Friday at 7:05 p.m. Pawtucket right-hander Justin Haley (3-6, 3.18) is scheduled to oppose Indians righty Clay Holmes (3-3, 4.31). The game will be televised live on YurView on COX, and radio coverage on WHJJ (920 AM and 104.7 FM) and throughout the PawSox Radio Network begins with the pre-game show at 6:35 p.m.
The six-game homestand runs through Sunday. 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.