After getting rained out on Friday night, the clouds parted for the PawSox and Knights as they took to McCoy for a doubleheader doozy
Ryan Fox (@Spider_Fox87)
A wise man once said that it’s not what you do when something doesn't go your way but what you do afterwards. After getting rained out on Friday night, the Pawtucket Red Sox and the Charlotte Knights meet up on sunny Saturday for a doubleheader showdown.
Tonight’s doubleheader marked the 3rd time this season that the PawSox had a doubleheader. The last two times were back on April 17 in Rochester, NY against the Red Wings and then at home against the Buffalo Bisons on April 19. On both those dates, the PawSox ended up splitting the doubleheader
Aside from the doubleheader, the big news of the day were the number of rehabbing Boston Red Sox players playing. You had SP Clay Buchholz (hyper extended knee from May 27), 3B Will Middlebrooks (fractured right index finger from May 17), and OF Shane Victorino (right calf string from May 24). Already both Middlebrooks and Victorino had played in Pawtucket earlier this season (Middlebrooks from April 21-24 & Victorino from April 19-23) so the McCoy faithful opened their arms and welcomed them both back into their hearts.
Taking the mound for the PawSox was Clay Buchholz, who was making his first start during his rehab. He was opposed by Knights RHP Dylan Axelrod (2-6, 5.02). The first pitch was thrown out, the national anthem was sung, the kids screamed out ‘Play ball!’ and we were underway at McCoy for the doubleheader showdown.
In Game 1, the Knights were able to get to Buchholz early. They got on the scoreboard first in the first inning on a sacrifice RBI by 3B Marcus Semien to score teammate SS Carlos Sanchez for a 1-0 early lead. Buchholz then proceeded to give up a solo shot to Sanchez in the 4th and then another one to RF Blake Tekotte in the 5th to push the lead up to 3-0.
For the entire game, the PawSox batters were stifled by Axelrod and the Knights’ bullpen. They could only manage just 4 hits (C Christian Vazquez had two of those hits) and were kept off the scoreboard. The PawSox only scoring threat came in bottom of the 3rd inning. In that inning, they lead off with back-to-back singles by 2B Ryan Roberts and Vazquez. However the next three batters went down 1-2-3 to end the inning.
So even with all the Red Sox players in the game, the PawSox were shut out 3-0 in the first game of the doubleheader.
After giving up the home run to Tekotte in the 5th, Buchholz’s rehab start was finished and he was pulled in by PawSox Skipper Kevin Boles for the bullpen. He ended up just pitching 4.2 innings, giving up 4 hits and 3 runs (all were earned), walked nobody, and struck out 5 batters on 62 pitches (42 for strikes) and was tagged for the loss. Victorino’s night also finished early, going for 0-for-2 before being pulled in the 5th inning (he was replaced by OF Corey Brown for remainder of the game). Middlebrooks fared better than Victorino and Buchholz, going 1-for-3 for the entire game.
After the final out of Game 1, the teams head back into the locker rooms to rest up and get ready for Game 2. Taking the mound for the PawSox in their second game of their doubleheader was RHP Anthony Ranaudo (6-4, 2.79). He squared off against Knights’ RHP Shawn Hill, who was making his first start with the Knights this season.
Things started off tight between the two teams as they each only managed to get two men on during the first two innings. Then the PawSox were able to gain separation from the Knights on a RBI single by 3B Carlos Rivero that scored CF Mookie Betts to make it 1-0 in favor of the home team. Then after a quiet 4th inning, the fireworks erupted in the 5th.
First in the top of the 5th, Knights LF Jared Mitchell appeared to have hit a home run to right but the umpires called it foul. He and Knights skipper Joel Skinner tried to appeal the call but they were overturned. Mitchell then proceeded to ground out, throwing his helmet down in frustration. However that earned him an ejection, which brought out Knights’ skipper, Joel Skinner, to argue. He then ended up joining Mitchell in the showers as the umpire also ejected the pitching coach.
Then in the bottom of the 5th, 2B Justin Henry lead things off with a single. Then Betts stepped up to the plate and proceeded to hit a 2-run home run deep to left center field to make the score 3-0 in favor of the PawSox. Interestingly enough, that was the first home run that Betts hit at McCoy Stadium this season.
In the 6th inning, after getting the first two outs, Boles decided to give Ranaudo the rest of the evening off and go to the bullpen for the remainder of the game. Between LHPs Chris Hernandez, Dalier Hinojosa, and Tommy Layne, the PawSox held the Knights to just 1 hit in the last 1.1 innings.
So for the third time this season, the PawSox ended up splitting another doubleheader. Though the lost Game 1, they took Game 2 by the final score of 3-0. Ranaudo ended up getting the victory, his 7th victory of the season. He went 5.2 innings, giving up 4 hits, walked 1 batter, and struck out 4 more on 95 pitches (61 for strikes).
If the weather holds up, the final game of the series will take place on Sunday at 1:05 p.m. Taking the mound for the PawSox will be LHP Felix Doubront (0-0, 3.86), making his second rehab start. He will be facing off against Knights RHP Tommy Hanson (3-5, 3.86).
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