PawSox SP Anthony Ranuado fried up some Mud Hens in Game 1 of their 4-game series
Ryan Fox (@Spider_Fox87)
It was a quiet, calm evening at McCoy. There was barely a cloud in the sky, the wind was barely blowing, and the fog was absent. It was the perfect time to play a baseball game at McCoy as the Pawtucket Red Sox began a 4-game series against the Toledo Mud Hens.
Taking the mound for the PawSox was Anthony Ranuado (2-2, 3.77). In his last outing, Ranuado faced off against the Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs back on April 29th. It was a rain shortened game that the PawSox won 8-0. Ranuado dominated in that game, going 5 innings, giving up just 2 hits, walking 2 batters, but fanning 7 in the contest. Tonight, he squared off against the Mud Hens’ Derek Hankins (1-2, 6.23). The national anthem was sung, the ceremonial first pitch was thrown, and we were under way at McCoy.
SS Brock Holt led the inning with a single after a 9-pitch battle with Hankins. Then after a double by 2B Ryan Roberts, the PawSox drew first blood on an RBI groundout by LF Daniel Nava. Roberts himself scored on an RBI single by DH Christian Vazquez to make it 2-0 in the first.
In the bottom of the second inning, there was a sudden pause in play when PawSox C Dan Butler was at bat. Apparently Toledo Mud Hens Manager Larry Parrish didn’t like how the umpire was calling balls and strikes. He then came out to argue and was then ejected for the game. Ironically enough, Butler ended up grounding out on a 5-3 (third baseman to first baseman) to end the inning.
But what appeared to be a big game for the PawSox bats turned into a pitching duel between Ranuado and Hankins. Each pitcher had a ‘1-2-3’ inning and two innings where they faced 4 batters but did not allow a single run. But what separated them was pitch count as Hankins had thrown 15+ pitches more than Ranuado. However that pitching duel came to a bloody conclusion for both sides.
In the bottom of the 5th, things started the same as the first. Both Holt and Roberts got on base on back to back hits. Next Nava ended up in a fielder’s choice that caused Roberts to get out at second and then 1B Ryan Lavarnway popped out to the right fielder. But just when Hankins thought he was gonna get out of the inning, he was badly mistaken.
First Vazquez then hit another RBI single that scored Holt for the second time of the game to make it 3-0. Then the next batter was 3B Garin Cecchini as he scored Nava on an RBI single to make it 4-0. Finally RF Alex Hassan add the crushing blow with a 2-RBI single that scored both Vazquez and Cecchini to balloon the lead to 6-0.
Then in the top of the 6th, Ranuado faced his own problems. He first walked Mud Hens CF Daniel Fields and then gave up a single to SS Hernan Perez. Then 1B Jordan Lennerton came to the plate and proceeded to hit a ground rule double that scored Fields to make it 6-1. When Ranuado walked 3B Mike Hessman to load the bases up, PawSox skipper Kevin Boles decided to intervene. He ended up pulling Ranuado and replaced him with RP Rich Hill to get out of the inning.
Hill then proceeded with an unlikely pattern of strikeout-walk-strikeout-walk before getting 2B Brandon Douglas to ground out to third to end the inning. But the damage had been done as the two walks by Rich Hill scored two runs to make it 6-3. The Mud Hens were able to tack on another run on a sacrifice fly to center in the following 7th inning to cut into the lead to 6-4.
However RP Dalier Hinojosa came into the 8th inning and the Mud Hens ended up getting stuck in the mud. Hinojosa got the Mud Hen batters to go down 1-2-3 in both the 8th and then again in the 9th to preserve the victory.
Ranuado ended up with the win for the PawSox. He went 5 innings (plus 4 batters), giving up 3 hits, 3 runs (all three were earned), walked 2 batters and struck out 4 more on 89 pitches (49 for strikes). Hankins ended up getting tagged for the loss for the Mud Hens, going 4.2 innings while giving up 7 hits, 5 runs (all earned), walked 2 PawSox batters while striking out nobody on 105 pitches (62 for strikes).
The two teams will continue for the second game of the series as RHP Matt Barnes (1-0, 1.80) takes the mound for the PawSox. He will be opposed by Mud Hens pitcher LHP Duane Below (2-0, 4.13). The game will be played on May 6 at 7:05 p.m.
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