PawSox Starter Brian Johnson Dominant in Win at Syracuse

SYRACUSE, NY — Brian Johnson continued a dominant run of starting pitching, and a pair of newcomers sparked the offense, as the Pawtucket Red Sox toppled the Syracuse Chiefs, 3-1, on Tuesday night at NBT Bank Stadium.

Johnson (W, 1-0) dealt eight innings of one-run, two-hit ball, as the PawSox (11-12) grabbed the opener of a three-game set with the Chiefs (9-13). In each of their last three non-doubleheader games (Friday, Sunday, Tuesday), Pawtucket pitchers have combined on two-hitters.

Syracuse only mustered four baserunners (two of which came in the eighth) against Johnson. The quick-working lefty allowed a leadoff single to begin the bottom of the first and proceeded to retire the next 13 he faced until a one-out walk in the fifth. From there, Johnson set down nine in a row. The 26-year old lowered his Triple-A ERA to 2.28.

Over the last six-game turn through the starting rotation, including Saturday’s spot start from reliever Marcus Walden in the doubleheader against Gwinnett, PawSox starters have only allowed four earned runs in 39 innings — a 0.92 ERA. The starters have piled up 35 strikeouts against nine walks and 15 hits.

Offensively, Pawtucket leadoff man Aneury Tavarez and left fielder Steve Selsky paced the offense. In his first game after being promoted from Double-A Portland, Tavarez went 2-for-4 with a pair of doubles. Selsky, who joined Pawtucket on Friday, was 2-for-4 with a solo home run. Second baseman Jantzen Witte, meanwhile, extended his on-base streak to 10 games with a 3-for-4 showing.

Pawtucket right-handed reliever Blaine Boyer (S, 1) spun a scoreless ninth to nail down the victory.

Syracuse starter Austin Voth (L, 1-3) allowed three runs on eight hits and a walk in seven stanzas with seven strikeouts.

The game was completed in two hours and 10 minutes — Pawtucket’s quickest nine-inning game of the season. The first four innings were completed in 49 minutes.

Selsky led off the top of the second inning by launching a solo home run — his first of the season — to left field to make it 1-0.

With both pitchers cruising into the fifth, the PawSox cracked Voth again. Witte ripped a one-out double to right-center field and scored on an RBI double slapped down the left-field line by Tavarez. Shortstop Deven Marrero then blooped a single to center to score catcher Dan Butler and extend the lead to 3-0.

Syracuse finally broke through in the bottom of the eighth. With runners at the corners and one out, No. 9 hitter Adrian Sanchez lofted a sacrifice fly to center to reel in designated hitter Corban Joseph and cut the margin to 3-1.

The PawSox continue their six-game road trip Wednesday at 1:05 p.m. against the Syracuse Chiefs at NBT Bank Stadium. Pawtucket left-hander Henry Owens (2-0, 1.66) is scheduled to oppose Chiefs righty Taylor Hill (1-2, 8.14).