Sam Travis blasted two home runs and the Pawtucket Red Sox scored 12 runs in the first five innings, out-slugging the Gwinnett Braves, 12-7, to win the three-game series on Sunday afternoon at McCoy Stadium.
Travis collected five RBI, Blake Swihart delivered three hits and Marco Hernandez recorded three hits and three runs for the PawSox (18-19), who tallied three separate innings of at least three runs. Every batter in the Pawtucket lineup reached base, eight recorded hits and seven scored.
“It always helps when guys are on base because you’re going to see more strikes,” said Travis.
The PawSox, who completed their series with the G-Braves (18-20) in a 24-hour span, scored at least eight runs in consecutive games for the first time since August 7-8, 2014.
However, Pawtucket did not have the game in hand from the beginning, as they had to fend off three Gwinnett home runs against starter Henry Owens (3-1).
The PawSox wasted no times in getting the bats going against Braves starter Lucas Sims (0-3). Rusney Castillo led off the first inning with a walk. As Castillo attempted to steal second base, the next batter, Marco Hernandez, grounded a single through the vacated hole at shortstop. With two on, the third Pawtucket batter of the game, Sam Travis clobbered a three-run home run over the left field fence.
In the second inning, the PawSox loaded the bases with a single and two walks. Justin Maxwell narrowly beat out a groundball deep in the hole to shortstop Ozzie Albies for an infield single that extended the lead to 4-0.
Gwinnett answered back with four straight baserunners to open up the third inning against Owens.
After an infield single and a walk, Emilio Bonifacio grounded and RBI single into left field. Adonis Garcia followed with a game-tying, opposite-field, three-run blast, his fourth straight game with a home run.
The G-Braves took their first lead in the fourth inning when Brandon Snyder snuck an opposite-field shot over the right field fence, just out of the reach of the leaping Maxwell.
Not to be outdone, Pawtucket responded with a season high-tying five runs in the bottom of the fourth inning, its second straight game with a five-run frame.
Six straight batters reached base with one out. After singles by Castillo and Hernandez in conjunction with a Travis walk loaded the bases, Justin Maxwell lined a go-ahead, two-run double into left field. Maxwell’s three RBI tied a season high.
After Swihart was intentionally walked, Bryce Brentz delivered a two-run single and Deven Marrero added a sacrifice fly.
Matt Tuiasosopo supplied a two-run home run to right center field in the sixth, cutting the deficit to 9-7.
But the PawSox again bested Gwinnett’s efforts in the bottom of the frame against Braves reliever David Peterson. Jantzen Witte reached on an error, stole second and scored on Hernandez’s RBI single.
The next batter, Travis launched a mammoth blast that nearly made it over the Pawtucket bullpen, earning both the first multi-home run game and the first five-RBI performance for any PawSox player this season. After going a month without a long-ball, Travis hit three home runs in a span of four at-bats (and six plate appearances).
“Travis made the wind look like it was blowing out to left field today,” manager Kevin Boles said. “He had a great approach.”
Owens, who allowed two runs in his four starts for Pawtucket this season coming into the day, allowed seven runs and eight hits. He walked two batters and tossed 99 pitches in five innings.
Roman Mendez, Robby Scott and Pat Light combined to toss four scoreless inning of relief, striking out eight to seal the win.
The PawSox open up the second half of their homestand with a three-game set with the Norfolk Tides beginning tomorrow at 7:05 p.m. Righthander Joe Kelly (1-0, 2.25) is scheduled make the third start of his rehabilitation assignment for Pawtucket against Norfolk righty Odrisamer Despaigne (0-5, 5.14). Radio coverage begins on WHJJ (920 AM) and throughout the PawSox radio network at 6:35 p.m.
Good seats for each game of the series are still available at the McCoy Stadium box office, by calling (401) 724-7300 or by visiting pawsox.com.
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