Bryce Brentz’s walk-off homer in the bottom of the ninth capped a 8-7 comeback win for the Pawtucket Red Sox in their home opener at McCoy Stadium over the Rochester Red Wings on Thursday night. The PawSox, who received their 2014 Governors’ Cup rings before the ball game, overcame deficits of three and four runs and won it with their last swing of the bat in front of a crowd of 8,263. Pawtucket’s resilience got their starter Steven Wright off the hook. Wright, who made his first start of 2015, fell behind early and allowed seven runs over the course of five innings (though only three of them were earned).
Trailing 3-0 because of run-scoring hits from Rochester’s Eric Farris, Josmil Pinto and Jose Martinez, the PawSox went to work in the bottom of the fourth against Wings’ lefty Taylor Rogers, who was dominant for much of the night. Jemile Weeks led off the inning with a double to right.
After Brentz drove a ball off the leg of Rogers to move Weeks to third, the southpaw – who struck out seven over six innings and retired nine of the first 11 PawSox hitters of the night – uncorked a wild pitch that scored Weeks. Blake Swihart then plated Brentz with a line drive single to right.
After a Luke Montz hit and a walk to Deven Marrero, Sean Coyle also drew a base on balls to score Swihart and tie the game.
Rochester surged ahead again in the fifth. Three Wright walks – two of which came with the bases loaded – combined with a Martinez sacrifice fly and a double steal to make it 7-3 Red Wings.
But the PawSox had another comeback in them. It started with two outs in the sixth, when Marrero and Coyle hit back-to-back homers to pull Pawtucket within two.
Swihart delivered in a big way again in the seventh; Shaw and Brentz singled and doubled and with two outs, the switch-hitting catcher crushed a double to right field that knotted the game at 7.
Miguel Celestino pitched three scoreless innings in relief of Wright, and Dana Eveland (1-0) kept Rochester at bay in the ninth to earn the win.
Game two of the series is scheduled for Friday night with first pitch at 6:15pm at McCoy Stadium. Left-hander Henry Owens (0-0, 1.42) is expected to start for the PawSox while the Red Wings counter with lefty Jason Wheeler (0-1, 2.70). Good seats are still available at the McCoy Stadium box office, by calling (401) 724-7300 or by visiting pawsox.com. Radio coverage on 920 AM (WHJJ) and also streaming online begins at 6:00 pm.