PawSox Can’t Stop Bisons Rally in Series Opener at Buffalo

PawSox news release…

(Buffalo) – The Pawtucket Red Sox were unable to hold on to their first-inning lead, allowing a pair of rallies to the Buffalo Bisons in a 7-5 loss to open their four-game series on Thursday evening at Coca-Cola Field.

Allen Craig’s first-inning, three-run home run and reliever Mitch Atkin’s string of 14 consecutive batters retired in his Pawtucket debut highlighted the contest, but in between, the Bisons (20-21) hung seven runs on the scoreboard.

With one out in the opening frame, Mike Miller doubled and Blake Swihart walked against Buffalo starter Chris Leroux (2-3). Two batters later, Bryce Brentz singled through the right side to bring home Miller.

The next batter was Craig, who was playing in just his second game after missing 30 games on the disabled list. He hammered his first home run of the season over the left field fence, putting the PawSox (20-21) ahead, 4-0. 

Mike McCarthy (0-1), making his first appearance since April 23 with Double-A Portland and his first for Pawtucket since last August, held the Bisons off the board in the bottom half of the inning.

But Buffalo put up a three-spot in the secondinning.

Domonic Brown led off the frame by hammering his third home run (6) against the PawSox this season to get the Bisons on the scoreboard.

After two walks later in the inning, the rehabbing Devon Travis lined an RBI double to left and Andy Burns added an RBI single on a ground ball that was hit just out of third baseman Chris Dominguez’s reach.

In the fourth inning, Dominguez lined an RBI double to right center field that brought Pawtucket’s lead back to 5-3.

However, a four-run bottom of the fourth would give Buffalo the lead for good.

Junior Lake led off with a double and Travis singled him home with his third hit of the game. The next batter, Burns hit a hard groundball to the shortstop Deven Marrero with Travis running on the play. Marrero attempted to throw to second base and start a double play, but his errant throw hit Travis and everyone was safe.

The next batter, Ceciliani made the PawSox pay. He lined a two-run double by Blake Swihart in left center field that put Buffalo ahead, 6-5. Jesus Montero added an RBI double to increase the lead to two runs.

McCarthy allowed seven runs, six earned, in 3.1 innings pitched. Six of the first eight outs he recorded were via popups.

From there, each pitching staff held its opponent off the board.

Atkins, who was transferred from Portland earlier in the day, allowed a walk to the first batter he faced. After that, he retired each of the 14 batters he faced in 4.2 brilliant innings. He recorded six strikeouts, tied for the most by a Pawtucket reliever this season.

Colt Hynes, Ben Rowen and Dustin Antolin combined on four scoreless innings out of the bullpen to seal the game for the Bisons.

Antolin allowed the first two Pawtucket baserunners to reach in the ninth but retired the last three batters of the game.

The PawSox continue their four-game series in Buffalo tomorrow at 6:05 p.m.