Syracuse scored three first inning runs against Pawtucket starter Henry Owens and spot-starter Richard Bleier tossed six very effective innings as the Chiefs bested the PawSox, 5-1, Wednesday night in front of 3,130 fans at McCoy Stadium to earn their first victory of the series. Bleier (1-1) allowed six hits, most of them softly struck, and one run without allowing a walk and striking out three. Pawtucket did not hit a single ball to an outfielder in the left-hander’s six frames of work.
After a walk and an error began the first inning, Owens (1-1) allowed an RBI double to Mark Minicozzi to open the scoring. Ian Stewart followed with a sharp sacrifice fly to right to make the score 2-0, then Jason Martinson laced an RBI single to put Syracuse ahead by three runs.
Bleier held Pawtucket to two hits through the first four innings, but then allowed three weekly-hit singles and a run in the fifth. Quintin Berry’s infield RBI hit to first base brought home Matt Spring to make the score 3-1.
Owens went back to the mound for the sixth and immediately allowed a long home run to Stewart (3) that gave the Chiefs a three-run lead again. That ended the night for the PawSox starter after he allowed four runs (three earned), four hits and three walks in five plus innings. Owens struck out six.
Martinson greeted the new pitcher Miguel Celestino with a home run to left center (3) that finished the scoring for the night. It was the first time all season that Pawtucket pitching had allowed more than one homer in a single game, and they came back-to-back by Syracuse.
Rich Hill relieved Bleier in the seventh and lasted two full innings without allowing a run or a hit while striking out four. Evan Meek pitched a scoreless ninth to finish the victory.
Stewart and Martinson each drove home two of the Chiefs five runs while each had two of the team’s six hits. Jackie Bradley, Jr. had two of the PawSox’s seven hits. Four of Pawtucket’s seven hits came on the infield.
The finale of the four-game series is scheduled for Thursday afternoon with first pitch at 12:05pm. As of Wednesday night the PawSox had not announced a starting pitcher. Syracuse will throw right-hander Scott McGregor (1-1, 4.61) as the Chiefs try for a series split.
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.
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