Kimbrel Makes Rehab Start as PawSox Hold Off RailRiders

PawSox news release…

(Pawtucket, RI) – The Pawtucket Red Sox used both an early and a late rally to defeat the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders for the second straight night, 8-7, in front of 9,126 fans at McCoy Stadium on Saturday.

After the PawSox (56-52) erased a brief deficit with a run in the seventh, Pat Light (1-1) kept the game tied, 6-6, with a scoreless eighth.

Pawtucket struck for two runs to take the lead in the bottom of the eighth against Scranton reliever Tyler Webb (3-2).

Brennan Boesch led off with a single and then Jantzen Witte hit a groundball to third baseman Donovan Solano. Solano tried to start a double play, but second baseman Jonathan Diaz did not touch second base on the attempted turn and Witte beat the return throw to first base.

Ramos bunted both runners over and Dan Butler walked, loading the bases for Jose Vinicio.

Vinicio chopped a single through the drawn-in left side of the infield, scoring Brennan Boesch with the go-ahead run. Rusney Castillo added a sacrifice fly to extend the lead to 8-6.

The first three batters reached against Light in the ninth, as the RailRiders (67-40) cut the deficit to 8-7 on Gary Sanchez’ RBI single to left field.

Noe Ramirez entered the game in relief and retired all three batters he faced to shut the door.

“I was trying to either get a groundball double play or a strikeout,” said Ramirez. “My stuff has been working well for me lately so I trusted everything and tried to stay within myself so it worked out pretty well.”

He struck out Tyler Austin and Donovan Solano and then induced a flyball to right field for his fourth save of the season.

“To get those guys out in the middle of their lineup, that was outstanding,” said manager Kevin Boles. “Our backs were up against the wall a little bit there and he took it to them.”

Craig Kimbrel made a rehabilitation start for Pawtucket, his first outing since Boston placed him on the disabled list on July 9 (retroactive to July 7) with a left knee media meniscus tear.

“[Kimbrel] had no hesitation, that’s for sure,” said Boles. “His fastball was 96-98 and he said he felt good afterwards so positive signs there.”

Kimbrel faced only three batters, throwing 17 total pitches due to a pitch limit.

He allowed a groundball single down the left field line to the leadoff batter, Ben Gamel. After Gamel stole second, Mason Williams grounded out to first base. Kimbrel broke to cover first base on the play. He then hit the final batter he faced, Gary Sanchez, with 3-2 pitch that dove down and inside.

“He had good break on his curveball, good spin,” said catcher Dan Butler. “I think he threw the ball well.”

Boles confirmed Kimbrel would be reevaluated tomorrow.

Roenis Elias entered the game after Kimbrel departed and after walking Tyler Austin to load the bases, he got Donovan Solano to ground into a 6-4-3 double play, holding the RailRiders off the board in the first inning.

Scranton starter Kyle Haynes was unable to do the same against the PawSox offense in the bottom half of the frame.

Castillo reached on an infield single, stole second base and scored on Marco Hernandez’ single into right field. Two batters later, Brennan Boesch smoked his second home run (3) of the homestand way over the fence in right field, putting Pawtucket in front, 3-0.

In the next inning, Ryan LaMarre lined a base hit into center field to score Jose Vinicio with the fourth run of the opening two frames for the PawSox. LaMarre has an RBI single in each of his last four games.

The RailRiders got on the board with two runs against Elias in the third inning.

Ben Gamel walked and Mason Williams, who grew up in Pawtucket, doubled to center field, placing runners on second and third with no outs. Sanchez and Austin both delivered RBI groundouts to the left side of the infield.

Those were the only two runs Elias surrendered on four hits in 4.2 innings of work. He struck out five and walked three.

Pawtucket answered back with a mammoth blast in the bottom of the frame.

Chris Marrero launched his league lead-tying 20th home run of the season way over the PawSox bullpen and nearly out of the stadium.

He is the first Pawtucket hitter to launch 20 home runs in a season since Mauro Gomez tallied 24 round-trippers in 2012.

Jorge Rosario answered with a line-drive home run over the left field fence for Scranton in the 6th inning to cut the PawSox lead to 5-3.

After a single and a hit-batter in the next inning, Austin lifted a home run (13) to center field that just cleared the yellow line to reach the batter’s eye. The three-run blast put the RailRiders ahead for the first time on the night, 6-5.

Both of Scranton’s home runs came against Pawtucket reliever Kyle Martin.

For the third time on the homestand, the PawSox fought back to erase the deficit.

In the bottom of the seventh, Castillo doubled to right field and scored when Marco Hernandez blooped a ball into right field for a double.

Pawtucket has won a series over the RailRiders for the first time this season, improving to 5-1 on the homestand.

Scranton has dropped consecutive games for just the second time since June 18. The team is 28-10 over this stretch.

The PawSox finish their seven-game homestand tomorrow at 1:05 p.m. Pawtucket righthander Justin Haley (4-3, 4.12) is scheduled to take the mound against Scranton righthander Luis Cessa (5-2, 3.11).