PawSox Lose on Back-to-Back Homers at Gwinnett

PawSox news release…

LAWRENCEVILLE, Georgia — Despite seven strong innings from Kyle Kendrick, the Pawtucket Red Sox dropped the series opener to the Gwinnett Braves, 3-2, on Friday night at Coolray Field.

The Braves (10-5) used back-to-back home runs in the third inning to start the three-game set with the PawSox (7-8).

Kendrick (L, 0-3) turned in his best start of the young season, logging seven innings for the second consecutive outing. The former Phillies standout allowed three runs on six hits and a pair of walks with four strikeouts.

PawSox center fielder Rusney Castillo (3-for-5) recorded his seventh multi-hit game of the season to pace the offense, while left fielder Ryan Court (2-for-3, R, HR, 2 RBI, BB) reached base three times.

Gwinnett starter Andrew Albers (W, 1-0) spun five innings of two-run ball, surrendering eight hits and a walk to go along with six strikeouts. Reliever Caleb Dirks followed with three hitless innings, and David Hernandez worked a 1-2-3 ninth to secure the save.

The Braves struck first in the bottom of the third. After No. 9 hitter Xavier Avery ripped a one-out double, shortstop Johan Camargo mashed a two-run home run to center field to push Gwinnett ahead 2-0. Moments later, No. 3 hitter Mel Rojas Jr. tagged a solo shot to right-center field to stretch the gap to 3-0.

Pawtucket quickly countered in the top of the fourth. After right fielder Junior Lake stroked a one-out single, Court lifted a two-run blast — his first Triple-A long ball — to left-center to cut the deficit to 3-2.

The PawSox were held without a base hit after the fifth inning, as Braves pitchers retired the final 11 they faced.

Pawtucket has homered in five consecutive games dating back to the nightcap of Saturday’s doubleheader.

The PawSox continue their six-game road trip Saturday at 6:05 p.m. against Gwinnett at Coolray Field.