PawSox Push Wild Card Lead to Two Games After Beating Buffalo
PawSox news release…
(Buffalo, NY) – Pawtucket’s offense erupted for three separate three-run innings while starter Henry Owens settled down to earn the win after allowing three first-inning runs as the PawSox topped the Buffalo Bisons, 9-3, Tuesday night at Coca-Cola Field to earn a critical split in the four-game series.
The PawSox rallied for three two-out runs in the second, then three more two-out runs in the seventh. Bryce Brentz snapped a 3-3 tie with a three-run blast (12) with no outs in the fifth. Owens (2-1) allowed hits to four of the first five batters he faced and fell behind 3-0, but then pitched scoreless ball for the remainder of his outing and garnered eight punchouts.
With the win, Pawtucket (76-62) moved two games in front of the Bisons (73-63) and the idle Rochester Red Wings (74-64) in the International League wild card standings with six games remaining in the regular season. Buffalo had won the first two games of the series to move into a wild card tie with the PawSox, but the visitors were able to capture the final two contests in the series.
Pawtucket moved to within 3.0 games of first-place Syracuse in the North Division, pending the result of the Chiefs game at Lehigh Valley Tuesday night. The PawSox will next play two road games at Lehigh Valley, then a pair of home contests against Syracuse and Rochester at home to finish the regular season.
After Buffalo took a 3-0 lead in the first, the PawSox rallied for three consecutive two-out doubles in the second against Bisons starter Daniel Norris (3-1) to tie the score. Garin Cecchini, Deven Marrero and Dan Butler each collected an RBI two-base hit as part of a five-hit inning.
Brentz clubbed his go-ahead blast to left center against Norris in the fifth following a leadoff walk by Justin Henry and a double from Alex Hassan. The homer chased Norris from the game after four-plus innings in which the southpaw allowed six runs on eight hits. He had only allowed two runs in 16.2 innings over his first three Triple-A starts prior to Tuesday.
The PawSox added three more tallies against reliever Kyle Drabek in the seventh, as the squad collected five-straight hits after the first two men were retired in the frame. Butler (RBI single), Jackie Bradley, Jr. (RBI double) and Henry (RBI single) each drove in runs during the rally.
Owens lasted 6.1 innings and allowed eight hits and four walks while throwing 105 pitches. Dalier Hinojosa relieved the lefty in the seventh with one out and retired eight of the nine batters he faced to finish the victory with 2.2 scoreless innings.
Bradley Jr. (3-for-6, RBI, run) and Hassan (3-for-5, run, two doubles) each had three-hit nights, while Henry (2-for-4, two walks, RBI, run), Brentz (2-for-5, home run, three RBI, two runs), Cecchini (2-for-5, RBI, run), Marrero (2-for-5, two doubles, two runs) and Butler (2-for-4, walk, two RBI, run) all collected multiple hits. Pawtucket finished with 17 total base knocks.
Pawtucket’s six-game road trip continues with a trip to Lehigh Valley for two games against the IronPigs. Wednesday’s opener is scheduled for a 7:05 pm first pitch, with PawSox right-hander Steven Wright (5-4, 3.13) slated to start against Lehigh Valley lefty Greg Smith (8-10, 4.50). Radio coverage on 920 AM (WHJJ) and also streaming online begins at 6:50 pm.
Following the six-game road trip the PawSox return to McCoy Stadium to finish the regular season with a four-game homestand that begins on Friday, August 29th. The stand features two games against Syracuse and then two with Rochester.