PawSox knuckleballer Steven Wright befuddled and bewildered the Knights all game long
Ryan Fox (@Spider_Fox87)
On a cloudy, overcast day at McCoy, the Pawtucket Red Sox squared off in the first of their 4-game series against the Knights of Charlotte. This series will mark the first time this season that these two teams will be matched up against one another.
Last year, the PawSox sported a 3–4 record against the Knights, including a 1–2 record at McCoy (One game was cancelled due to rain). A fun little nugget as just two years ago, these two teams met in the 2012 Governors’ Cup Finals (PawSox ended up sweeping the Knights in that series).
Taking the mound for the PawSox in this matchup was knuckleballer RHP Steven Wright (0-1, 1.38), looking for his first victory at the Triple-A level this season. His last start was last week (June 6) in 2-0 loss to the Durham Bulls. In that game, Wright went 7 innings, giving up 0 runs, walked 3 batters, and struck out 7 on 103 pitches (59 for strikes) and got a No Decision. Tonight he squared off against RHP Erik Johnson (1-3, 6.49) of the Knights in the series’ first game.
With the clouds looming into the sky, the PawSox and Knights took to the diamond to play Game 1 of the series. The Knights first got on the scoreboard in the top of the 1st inning as SS Marcus Semien hit a monster solo shot to left field to go up 1-0. However the PawSox were able to answer with an RBI single by their own shortstop, SS Carlos Rivero, in the bottom of the 1st inning to tie it up 1-1.
An RBI blooper to right by DH Dan Butler in the bottom 2nd inning gave the PawSox their first lead of the game at 2-1. Then in the bottom of the 4th inning, the PawSox tacked on 2 more runs on a 2-RBI single by CF Alex McCoy to push their lead to 4-1.
From then on it was a game of missed chances for the PawSox. First you had 3B Garin Cecchini getting thrown out at the plate in the 5th inning. Then you had 2B Mookie Betts thrown out at second after trying to steal the base. However Wright continued to pitch a magnificent game, stifling the Knight batters and keeping them from capitalizing on the PawSox’s missed opportunities.
Then in the bottom of the 8th inning, the PawSox put the dagger into the Knight’s chances of a comeback. A solo shot to left field by C Christian Vazquez and then an RBI single by Betts put the PawSox on top 6-1 and out of the reach of the Knights.
After the final out, the score had read 6-1 in favor of the home team, their 4th victory out of 5 games during the PawSox home stand. Steven Wright ended up getting the victory, going 7 strong innings while giving up just 3 hits and 1 run (it was earned), walked 1 batter, and tied a career-high in strikeouts with 10 all on 99 pitches (70 for strikes).
The two teams will meet up tomorrow night at 7:05 p.m. Taking the mound for the PawSox will be RHP Clay Buchholz, who will be starting on his rehab assignment for the Boston Red Sox. He will be opposed to RHP Dylan Axelrod (2-6, 5.02) of the Knights.
(*=prospect ranking according to MLB.com)
#2 Mookie Betts
Prospect Ranking: #5
Played: Second Base
Stat Line: 2-for-5, RBI
Game Notes: First time during this home stand that Mookie got the go to play at 2nd base. Tonight also marked his first multi-hit game since June 6th against the Durham Bulls in Durham, North Carolina.
#39 Travis Shaw
Prospect Ranking: #19
Played: First Base
Stat Line: 2-for-5, K
Game Notes: Consistently performing well at the plate. Has now hit for .325 (13-for-40) during his last 10 games (including tonight's game).
#3 Garin Cecchini
Prospect Ranking: #4
Played: Third Base
Stat Line: 0-for-3, BB, R, 2K
Game Notes: Reached base back in the 6th inning on an error, but was later thrown out at the plate on a fielder’s choice.
#15 Christian Vazquez
Prospect Ranking: #10
Stat Line: 2-for-3, BB, SB, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 2R
Game Notes: Vazquez brought the wood in tonight’s game, going 2-for-3 at the plate. This includes a monster solo shot in the 8th inning to left field, his second home run of the year.
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