Wren’s Inside The Park Homer Not Enough, PawSox Walked Off On in Second Straight Game

Georgia native Kyle Wren continued his successful homecoming by ripping an inside-the-park home run to tie the game in the eighth inning, but the Gwinnett Stripers walked off for the second day in a row to defeat the Pawtucket Red Sox, 4-3, in 10 innings Sunday afternoon at Coolray Field.

For the fourth time during their six-game losing streak, the PawSox fell in walk-off fashion. Dating back to Pawtucket’s own walk-off victory last Sunday at McCoy Stadium, five of its last eight games have been decided in walk-off fashion. In Sunday’s road trip finale, the PawSox (45-53) tied the game 2-2 in the sixth and 3-3 in the eighth, but the Stripers (47-53) scored their automatic baserunner in the bottom of the 10th inning on an RBI single from Rio Ruiz, who began the day tied for second in the International League in hits. Pawtucket’s six-game losing skid is a season-long.

Wren – the son of Red Sox Senior Vice President/Player Personnel Frank Wren – drove a ball off the center-field wall that caromed back into deep center, sprinted around the bases and scored without a throw to tie the game and record Pawtucket’s first inside-the-park homer in nearly two years (Marco Hernandez, August 5, 2016). In three games over the weekend less than 90 minutes from his hometown and against the organization that drafted him, Wren went 4-for-9 with two doubles and the first five RBIs of his Pawtucket tenure.

Pawtucket second baseman Tony Renda (2-for-5) returned to the lineup after a day off and picked up right where he left off, logging another two-hit performance. In 10 games with the PawSox since he was promoted from Double-A Portland, Renda is a staggering 21-for-46 (.457). Entering Sunday, only one player in all of affiliated baseball had more hits than Renda during that timeframe (coincidentally, 2017 PawSox utility man Ryan Court, now with the Triple-A Iowa Cubs). Renda’s double-play partner, shortstop Mike Miller, went 2-for-3 himself with two RBIs to continue his sizzling stretch over the last few weeks.

PawSox starter Justin Haley yielded three runs in 5.2 solid innings, while left-handers Bobby Poyner (1.1 IP, 0 H) and Williams Jerez (2.0 IP, 1 H) combined on 3.1 innings of dynamite relief work. Southpaw Josh D. Smith (L, 5-5) took the loss after the automatic baserunner scored in the bottom of the 10th (an unearned run).

Gwinnett starter Kolby Allard – the 20-year old former first-round pick – gave up two runs (one earned) with six strikeouts in five-plus innings. Reliever Jason Hursh (W, 2-4) worked a scoreless top of the 10th inning.

Pawtucket started the scoring in the top of the fourth inning when Miller sprayed a sacrifice fly down the right-field line to score center fielder Rusney Castillo, who had led off the inning with a double.

Gwinnett climbed in front, 2-1, in the bottom of the fifth inning on an RBI double from designated hitter Alex Jackson and an RBI infield single from leadoff man Luis Marte that was looped over the drawn-in infield.

Pawtucket leveled the score, 2-2, in the sixth inning when Miller stung an RBI single the opposite way to reel in Castillo again.

But in the home half of the inning, Gwinnett left fielder Dustin Peterson drove in the go-ahead run, 3-2, with a double – the Stripers’ second two-bagger of the frame.

With two outs and nobody on in the top of the eighth inning, Wren tagged his inside-the-park homer to straightaway center and tied the game once again.

In the top of the 10th inning, Pawtucket placed runners at the corners with one out, but Hursh induced a 6-4-3 double play to escape harm.

But moments later with one out and the automatic runner at second, Ruiz cracked an RBI single back up the middle to score catcher Chris Stewart.

Following the seven-game road trip and an off day on Monday, the PawSox now return home to McCoy Stadium to kick off a six-game homestand that begins against the Columbus Clippers (Cleveland Indians) on Tuesday at 7:05 p.m. Radio coverage on WHJJ (920 AM and 104.7 FM) and throughout the PawSox Radio Network begins with the pre-game show at 6:35 p.m.