Ryan L. Fox
After many days of rain and grey, the skies cleared up Wednesday evening as the Pawtucket Red Sox played host to the Columbus Clippers. The Clippers took the first game of the series on Tuesday night, winning 5-4 in 10 innings as the PawSox looked to avenge that loss with a victory in Wednesday's contest.
There were actually 2 Boston Red Sox rehabbing with the PawSox that participated in the contest. 2B/Util. Brock Holt (scratched right cornea) was back for his 3rd rehab stint with the team. Joining him was LHP Brian Johnson, who was recently added to the team before the start of the game, as he was on a rehab assignment for left elbow inflammation.
While the Clippers went with RHP Sheo-Ching Chiang (0-3, 7.03) to take the mound for them, the PawSox decided to go with their bullpen. PawSox LHP Jeremy Bleich (0-0, 7.00) ended up starting the game for the home team with Johnson following afterwards.
The Clippers were the first to strike in the game.
In the top 2nd, Clippers SS Ryan Flaherty saw a Bleich pitch right down the middle and knocked it over the right field wall for a solo home run to give his team the early 1-0 lead. The PawSox tried to answer back in the following bottom 2nd as they got men on 1st and 2nd with 1 out in the inning. Unfortunately the next two PawSox batters went down swinging to end the inning.
In the top 3rd, LHP Brian Johnson came in to replace Bleich for his first rehab game. However there was a minor stoppage in play prior to Johnson taking the mound as one of the umpires told him to take off an elbow brace on his left elbow. After some discussion between Johnson, PawSox pitching coach Kevin Walker, PawSox manager Billy McMillon, and the umpires, it was agreed upon that Johnson would have to remove the elbow brace for the inning. After the 3rd, Johnson was allowed to wear it his elbow brace on his left elbow but also had to wear an elbow brace on his right elbow.
Johnson cruised in the 3rd inning, getting the Clippers down 1-2-3. But in the top 4th, Johnson ran into some problems with the Clippers.
After the leadoff man grounded out to short, Flaherty was able to get on base via single. A double by teammate DH Max Moroff put men in scoring position as 1B Adam Rosales came to the plate. Rosales hit a grounder to PawSox 3B Jantzen Witte as Flaherty tried to score on the play. Witte actually ended up throwing out Flaherty at the plate for the 2nd out of the inning as it seemed the Clippers were held in check.
But then Johnson surrendered a walk to Clippers RF Trayce Thompson as 3B Eric Stamets came to the plate. Stamets ripped a single into left field that drove in Moroff and Rosales to extend the Clippers lead to 3-0. Johnson was then replaced by RHP Chandler Shepherd, who got the first man he faced to ground out to end the inning.
In the top 5th, Clippers 2B Mark Mathias lead the inning off with a double. Then LF Brandon Barnes came to the plate. On a 0-1 count, Barnes launched a 2-run home run over the left center field wall to push the Clippers lead to 5-0. Shepherd was tagged for another home run in the top 6th, this time by Thompson as the Clippers lead grew to 6-0.
The PawSox were able to answer back in the bottom 6th. They were able to load the bases via walks with 1 out in the inning with Witte coming to the plate. Witte was able to hit a fly ball deep into right field to score the runner from 3rd to make it 6-1. Then a single by C Juan Centeno drove in another run to make it 6-2. After a walk to 2B Josh Tobias loaded the bases again as SS Nick Lovullo came to the plate. Lovullo was able to draw another walk as another PawSox run came in to make it 6-3.
Then RF Gorkys Hernandez came to the plate. He hit what would have been a routine groundout to 3rd but Stamets bobbled the ball for a costly error that allowed another PawSox run to score to make it 6-4. The PawSox were trying for more but Holt ended up striking out, ending the inning and the PawSox rally.
In the top 8th though, INF Bobby Bradley, who came into the game in the bottom 7th to replace Mathais, was able to hit a solo home run off of LHP Josh Taylor to push the Clippers lead up to 7-4.
The PawSox could not muster any more offense for the remainder of the game, going down 1-2-3 in both the bottom 8th and 9th innings as the Clippers won on the final score of 7-4.
Bleich was tagged for the loss in the game. He ended up going just 2.0 innings, allowing 2 hits, 1 run (1 it was earned), and a walk on 58 pitches (21 for strikes). Chiang ended up with the win for the Clippers, going 5.1 innings while giving up 1 hit, 3 runs (all were earned), walking 6 PawSox batters, and striking out 5 more on 101 pitches (54 for strikes).
For the rehabbing Red Sox players, Holt went 0-for-3 with 2 Ks, 1 walk drawn, and 1 run scored as DH before getting lifted for LF Bryce Brentz in the bottom 9th. Johnson, meanwhile, went 1.2 innings, giving up 3 hits while giving up 2 runs (both runs were earned), walked 1 Clippers batter, and struck out 1 more on 32 pitches (20 for strikes).
The next game will take place on the following Thursday with the first pitch being at 11:05 a.m. in the morning pending weather. The Clippers will have RHP Cody Anderson starting in a rehab start with RHP Chih-Wei Hu (1-2, 5.29) coming in after. For the PawSox, RHP Mike Shawaryn (1-2, 2.79) will take the mound looking to get the victory to prevent the Clippers from sweeping the series.
After the game, PawSox manager Billy McMillon spoke with the media about his team's performance during the game and other topics.
Also, Red Sox LHP Brian Johnson spoke with the media about his game performance and more.
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