PawSox Open Homestand by Edging Syracuse at McCoy

PawSox news release…

(Pawtucket, RI) – Alex Hassan’s sacrifice fly in the bottom of the eighth inning snapped a 2-2 tie after Mookie Betts and Garin Cecchini hit solo home runs early and the Pawtucket Red Sox defeated the Syracuse Chiefs, 3-2, Wednesday night at McCoy Stadium in front of 7,517 fans in the opener of a three-game series. 

The victory moved Pawtucket (62-50) to within one game in the standings of North Division-leading Syracuse (62-48).  The PawSox have now won 12 of their last 14 games while the Chiefs have dropped nine of 12.

Will Middlebrooks, playing in the 11th game of his most recent injury rehab stint, played the entire game at third base and went 0-for-4 with two strikeouts.  Middlebrooks, on the Boston DL since May 16th, is now 11-for-44 (.250) with three homers over his last 11 games played. 

After Pawtucket starter Chris Hernandez allowed two runs in his three innings pitched, three relievers combined to shutout Syracuse over the final six innings.  Ryan Verdugo (3.0 innings, two hits), Alex Wilson (2.0 innings, one hit) and Heath Hembree (1.0 innings, one hit) stymied the Chiefs in the fourth through the ninth.

Betts (4) and Cecchini (5) homered in the first and second innings respectively against Syracuse starter A.J. Cole.  Cole lasted five total frames and worked through three hits and three walks to keep the game tied at 2.

The PawSox plated the go-ahead run in the eighth against reliever Ryan Mattheus (1-3) when Ryan Roberts led off with a single and moved to third two batters later on a single by Travis Shaw.  Hassan then lifted the game-winning sac fly to center to score Roberts easily.

Wilson (4-1) earned his third victory of the season against Syracuse, while Hembree, making his Red Sox organizational debut, earned the save.  Hembree got Brandon Laird to fly out to right with the tying and go-ahead runners on base in the ninth to end the game.

Game two of the series is slated for a 12:05 pm first pitch on Thursday afternoon, as Pawtucket tries to tie the Chiefs for first place in the division.  Lefty Edwin Escobar (NR), making his Red Sox debut, will get the ball for manager Kevin Boles while right-hander Taylor Hill (9-5, 2.62) counters for Syracuse.