Late PawSox Rally Falls Short in Syracuse

 Adam Lind hammered a solo homer to headline a comeback bid by the Pawtucket Red Sox, but the Syracuse Chiefs survived with a 3-2 win Tuesday night at NBT Bank Stadium.

After a 13-inning marathon Monday night in the series opener, a scoreless pitchers’ duel breezed quickly into the fifth inning Tuesday. That’s when Syracuse (45-63) plated three runs in an inning in which it sent eight batters to the plate. The PawSox (48-58) did counter with two runs in the top of the eighth and placed the tying run aboard in the ninth, but Syracuse secured at least a split of the four-game series. Pawtucket has lost eight straight road games, and five of the last six have been one-run losses.

Lind (1-for-4, R, HR, RBI) led off the top of the eighth with his eighth homer in a Pawtucket uniform.

Pawtucket starter Josh A. Smith (L, 2-4) struck out seven – a high-water mark for him with the PawSox – across six sturdy innings in which he allowed three runs. The 30-year old right-hander cruised through his first four innings – all scoreless – on just 51 pitches before the Chiefs manufactured some offense in the fifth. After being promoted earlier in the day from Double-A Portland following Boston’s trade of relievers Ty Buttrey and Williams Jerez for new Red Sox second baseman Ian Kinsler, Pawtucket reliever Matthew Gorst impressed in two shutout innings in which he only ceded two ground-ball singles in the seventh. The 23-year old from Georgia Tech lowered his combined ERA to 0.89 across 30 appearances between High-A Salem, Portland and now Pawtucket. Remarkably, Gorst – who touched 94 MPH with his fastball – has not allowed an earned run since May 13 and has only yielded one unearned run in that time.

Syracuse starter Jefry Rodriguez (W, 1-2) dealt six-plus shutout innings and got picked up by 25-year old reliever Koda Glover, who entered a jam in the seventh inning but got three straight outs with the bases loaded. Reliever David Goforth (S, 2) allowed the two runs in the eighth but buttoned up a six-out save in the ninth.

In the bottom of the fifth, Syracuse took a 1-0 lead on a 5-2 fielder’s choice in which the PawSox tried to cut down the run at the plate. Two batters later, second baseman Irving Falu pulled a two-run single into right field to stretch the gap to 3-0.

Pawtucket left the bases loaded in the seventh but trimmed the margin to 3-1 on Lind’s homer. After left fielder Sam Travis doubled and moved to third on a groundout, he scored on an RBI groundout from shortstop Mike Miller.

In the ninth, Pawtucket All-Star Rusney Castillo delivered a pinch-hit single that put the tying run aboard, but Goforth slammed the door shut.

The PawSox continue their four-game series against Syracuse on Wednesday at NBT Bank Stadium at 6:35 p.m. Pawtucket right-hander Chandler Shepherd (5-7, 4.07) is scheduled to oppose Syracuse righty Kyle McGowin (0-0, 0.00). Radio coverage on WHJJ (920 AM and 104.7 FM) and throughout the PawSox Radio Network begins with the pre-game show at 6:05 p.m.

The PawSox return home Friday-Sunday (August 3-5) to host the Rochester Red Wings (Minnesota Twins). Good tickets 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.