Castillo Home Run Helps PawSox Edge IronPigs Friday

Pawtucket Red Sox Press Release

ALLENTOWN, Penn. — Pawtucket Red Sox spot starter Josh D. Smith fired a career-long six innings and steered the PawSox to a tidy 2-1 victory over the Lehigh Valley IronPigs on Friday night at Coca-Cola Park.

Smith and relievers Williams Jerez and Ryan Brasier combined to three-hit the IronPigs (38-29), and Pawtucket center fielder Rusney Castillo (2-for-4, R, HR, 2 RBI) drilled a two-run homer in the third inning to lead the PawSox (32-33) to the victory and even the series at a game apiece. PawSox pitchers have combined to throw four three-hitters this season. Pawtucket has now won seven of its last 10 games.

Smith (W, 3-3), who threw a then-career-high 4.1 innings with a career-high seven strikeouts in his last outing Sunday at McCoy Stadium, only ceded three hits in his six innings. The 28-year old left-hander allowed each of the first three batters to reach in the bottom of the first inning (walk, hit batter, RBI single) and then only allowed three baserunners the rest of the night.

Jerez took over for the seventh and struck out two in a 1-2-3 inning with a pair of strikeouts on upper-80s sliders. The 26-year old southpaw then generated three groundball outs in the eighth to stamp two perfect frames. From there, closer Ryan Brasier punched out the side in a perfect ninth inning. The 30-year old Brasier (S, 8), who spent the 2017 season pitching in Japan with Hiroshima, lowered his ERA to 1.69 and has now fanned 35 in 32 innings with only eight walks.

Lehigh Valley starter Cole Irvin (L, 8-2) turned in seven innings of two-run work, as the reigning International League Pitcher of the Week punched out seven and only walked one.

Lehigh Valley capitalized on a walk and a hit batter in the bottom of the first inning and grabbed a 1-0 lead on an RBI single from third baseman Mitch Walding.

In the top of the third, Pawtucket catcher Óscar Hernández reached on an error to start the frame, and, two batters later, Castillo stroked an inside-out, two-run homer to right field that just climbed over the tall wall.

The game was played in two hours and seven minutes — Pawtucket’s shortest nine-inning game of the season.

The PawSox continue their seven-game road trip Saturday at 6:35 p.m. against the IronPigs. Pawtucket right-hander William Cuevas (4-3, 3.13) is scheduled to oppose IronPigs righty Drew Anderson (2-2, 5.00). Radio coverage on WHJJ (920 AM and 104.7 FM) and throughout the PawSox Radio Network begins with PawSox Insider at 5:05 p.m.

The PawSox will return home to McCoy Stadium on June 19-24 (Tuesday-Sunday) for a seven-game homestand against the Buffalo Bisons (Toronto Blue Jays) and Syracuse. 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 for tickets.