Lehigh Valley collected 12 hits against Pawtucket starter Steven Wright while the IronPigs starter Greg Smith tossed seven shutout innings en route to a series-opening 5-1 win over the PawSox on Wednesday night at Coca-Cola Park in the opener of a two-game series.
Wright (5-5) allowed five runs in 6.0 innings of work as he was defeated by the IronPigs for the second time in the last six days. Smith (9-10) allowed only three hits and three walks and combined with relievers Jeremy Horst and Tyler Knigge on a five-hitter.
With the loss, Pawtucket (76-63) fell to 1.0 games ahead of Buffalo in the IL wildcard standings with five games remaining, pending the result of the Bisons’ second doubleheader game at Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. The squad also fell 3.5 games behind first-place Syracuse in the North Division, as the Chiefs came from behind to defeat Rochester, 4-3.
Lehigh Valley plated single runs in the first two innings, as Tony Gwynn, Jr. led off the first with a solo home run (1) and Cameron Rupp lined a two-out RBI double in the second. The IronPigs doubled their lead in the third when Maikel Franco drilled a two-run double to left with no outs to plate Gwynn Jr. (single) and Cesar Hernandez (walk).
The early offense was more than enough for Smith, who only allowed one runner to reach second base during his seven innings of work. Pawtucket got in the scoreboard with two outs in the ninth when Dan Butler doubled and Garin Cecchini singled him home against Knigge.
The finale of the two-game series and of Pawtucket’s six-game road trip is scheduled for Thursday night with first pitch at 7:05 pm. The PawSox, who were slated to start lefty Edwin Escobar before his MLB recall on Wednesday, have yet to announce a starter. The IronPigs will throw right-hander Jeff Manship (0-1, 4.09). Radio coverage on 920 AM (WHJJ) and also streaming online begins at 6:50 pm.
Following the six-game road trip the PawSox return to McCoy Stadium to finish the regular season with a four-game homestand that begins on Friday, August 29th.
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