PawSox Win in Walk-off by Diaz in the 12th at McCoy

Ken Bell

kbell@abc6.com

PawSox news release…

AWTUCKET, R.I. — It took until the 55th game for the Pawtucket Red Sox to finally face North Division foe Syracuse.

And then in front of an energetic crowd of 7,510 in the opener of an eight-day homestand at McCoy Stadium, they needed 12 innings, 4 hours and 20 minutes to finally resolve perhaps the season's wildest contest, which was decided on Jonathan Diaz's single to score Justin Henry for a 9-8 PawSox victory.

It was Diaz's third hit, marking his second straight three-hit performance and capitalizing on the Chiefs' fifth error of the evening.  Second baseman Will Rhymes misplayed Henry's grounder, setting up Ronald Bermudez's sac bunt and an intentional walk of Brock Holt.

With Mike Crotta (L, 3-5) extended into his fourth inning of relief as Syracuse's sixth pitcher, the count reached 1-and-1, before Diaz lined his looping single into right-center field.  As a result, Ryan Rowland-Smith (W, 3-0), who worked a 1-2-3 top of the 12th as the PawSox's sixth pitcher, earned the win.

Diaz's heroics followed a missed opportunity in the 10th, when Pawtucket stranded the potential winning run at third base, as well as a flurry by both clubs in the seventh and eighth innings.

The PawSox and Chiefs combined to score 10 runs on 10 hits in those two frames, while finishing with 27 hits overall.

After Syracuse scored a run on Will Rhymes's single to drive in Eury Perez for a 5-2 lead in the top of the seventh inning, Pawtucket rallied on the other side of the stretch.

An error opened the door to an eight-batter, four-run uprising, culminating with a game-tying, two-run homer by Mitch Maier and a go-ahead single by Bermudez.

But the Chiefs surged again in the eighth on back-to-back two-out doubles by Chris Rahl, who drove in two, and Rhymes, who put them ahead, 8-6.

Again the PawSox answered, following a leadoff walk of Diaz and one-out home run by Drew Sutton to lock the game in an 8-8 tie.

Each of the first four hitters in Syracuse's lineup had three hits, while Diaz, Holt and Sutton enjoyed multi-hit outings for Pawtucket.

The second contest of their four-day series is on tap for 6:05 p.m. on Saturday, as the PawSox present Star Wars Night, culminating in a post-game fireworks show.

Allen Webster (4-0, 2.52) is scheduled to return to the mound for the Sox, opposite Ryan Tutusko (0-1, 3.38).