Even SS Stephen Drew could not believe what he saw in tonight's game
Ryan Fox (@Spider_Fox87)
It was a nice, calm evening at McCoy as your Pawtucket Red Sox looked to finish up their 4-game home stand against the Gwinnett Braves. The PawSox took Games 1 & 3 while the Braves ended up taking Game 2. So as both teams met for the series finale, the McCoy faithful watched with anticipation and hope for a victory for the home team.
Taking to the mound for the PawSox in this one was RHP Jeremy Kerht (0-3, 7.97) as he squared off against Braves RHP Zach Stewart (2-2, 4.08). The last start for Kerht was all the way back on April 19 in a 3-2 loss against the Buffalo Bisons. In that game, Kerht went 6 innings, gave up 6 hits and 4 runs (only two were earned), walked 2 batters, and struck out 4 batters on 75 pitches (49 for strikes) and was tagged with the loss. Since then he has spent time on the disabled list from April 25 to May 24 before making an appearance in relief in a 4-1 loss against the Syracuse Chiefs. Now PawSox Skipper Kevin Boles decided to go with Kerht this time around instead of the original projected starter Rubby De La Rosa.
Continuing in his road back to the majors was SS Stephen Drew. In his debut with the PawSox’s last night, Drew ended up going 1-for-3 in the team’s 3-0 victory. He also played 7 strong innings at the shortstop position and the buzz was that in tonight’s game Drew would play at DH. However he ended up playing at shortstop for the second consecutive game.
The first pitch was thrown by Rhode Island State Treasurer Gina Raimondo, the national anthem was then performed by the Norton Middle School band, the children screamed out “Play Ball,” and we were underway for the final game of the series between the PawSox and Braves.
It started off as a usual PawSox game with strong pitching and defense dominating the first two innings. However in the bottom of the 3rd inning, the PawSox had a chance to score first. After the first two batters got out, 2B Mike McCoy got on base with a single to left field. Then when teammate DH Garin Cecchini was at the plate, McCoy ended up stealing second base. However Braves SS Phil Gosselin couldn’t handle the cutoff throw and it got away from him, bouncing into centerfield. McCoy then advanced to third, putting himself in prime condition to score. But instead Cecchini popped out to centerfield and ended the threat.
In the top of the 4th inning, the Braves were able to draw first blood. The Braves started things with a leadoff double by 2B Tyler Pastornicky. Then Gosselin went to bat, landing a bunt in hops to advance Pastornicky to third base. Instead he got more as Pastornicky made it safely to first. But at the same time, Kerht tried to throw him out but ended up throwing the ball over 1B Travis Shaw. Pastornicky scored while Gosselin advanced to second base on the throwing error as the score read 1-0. After that it seemed like Kerht’s night was done as Boles decided to reach into the bullpen to go with RHP Jose Valdez.
For a majority of the game, it seemed like the PawSox bats were filled with lead. They would either go down 1-2-3 or constantly get into an inning-ending double play. The Braves on the other hand, seemed to be getting the ball bouncing in their favor.
In the top of the 7th inning, the Braves’ offense exploded. First 1B Mark Hamilton got on base by a single and used his speed to get to second base. Then CF Todd Cunningham came to the plate and tried to put down a sacrifice bunt. But the same thing happened as it did back in the 4th inning. Valdez overthrew Shaw at first, which then caused Cunningham to make it safely to second while Hamilton scored to make it 2-0. Then came up DH Joey Terdoslavich, who was then walked by Valdez. However during that at-bat, Valdez threw a wild pitch that caused Cunningham to advance to third.
Then 3B Edward Salcedo came to the plate and absolutely ripped a deep shot to centerfield to make it 5-0. The PawSox were able to get out of the inning without any further damage but the Braves still continued to make them bleed. A solo shot by Gosselin in the top of the 8th inning off of PawSox reliever RHP Chris Resop made it 6-0 as all hope was lost.
Then the PawSox began one last charge in the bottom of the 8th. First it was back-to-back singles by PawSox CF Shannon Wilkerson and LF Justin Henry put guys on both first and second. Then a walk to 2B Mike McCoy loaded up the bases for Cecchini. This time around, Cecchini was able to capitalize on the scoring opportunity as he ripped a double into right field that cleared the bases. With one swing of the bat, the PawSox were able to cut into the Braves’ lead 6-3. A single by McCoy put runners at the corner with two outs in the inning but then Shaw proceeded to fly out into left field to end the PawSox’ rally.
The PawSox tried to continue on with their 8th inning charge. A two-out single by Wilkerson gave some life to the team but then Henry proceeded to groundout. The Braves ended up winning the game 6-3 and ended up splitting the series with the PawSox 2-2.
Starter Jeremy Kerht ended up with the loss to drop to 0-4 on the season. He went 5 innings, giving up 1 run (it was earned) on 4 hits, walked nobody, and struck out 4 on 75 pitches (45 for strikes). However he had that costly error in the top of the 4th that got the first run for the Braves. The winning pitch for the Braves was Wheeler, who went 7.1 innings while giving up 6 hits, 3 runs (all earned), walked 2 batters, and struck out 3 more on 114 pitches (69 for strikes). Also PawSox SS Stephen Drew went 0-for-4 with a strikeout in his second game in Pawtucket, going the full distance in 9 innings.
Though it was a painful loss in front of their home crowd, the PawSox must trudge onwards. They travel to Norfolk, Virginia to take on the Norfolk Tides. Game 1 of that series kicks off Friday at 7:05 p.m. Taking the mound for the PawSox will be RHP Allen Webster (2-2, 3.17) as he will be opposed by the Tides’ RHP Kevin Gausman (1-2, 2.41).
Sound byte from Stephen Drew after the game
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