Ryan L. Fox
There are 3 certain things in life in 2019: death, taxes, and the Pawtucket Red Sox playing a doubleheader. On Wednesday, the PawSox played their 10th doubleheader of the 2019. This time, it was against the visiting Durham Bulls, the Triple-A affiliate of the Tampa Bay Rays
Originally scheduled to be a 7:05 p.m. game, Wednesday was turned into a doubleheader due to Tuesday night’s game being postponed due to a rainout. So you had Game 1 scheduled at 5:05 p.m. followed by a 30-minute intermission and then Game 2 afterwards.
In Game 1, the top pitching prospect in the Boston Red Sox farm system, LHP Darwinzon Hernandez, made his PawSox debut as he was opposed by Bulls RHP Arturo Reyes (4-2, 2.98).
After holding the Bull scoreless in the top 1st, the PawSox scored the game’s first run in the bottom 1st.
CF Gorkys Hernandez lead the inning off with a leadoff walk. He then proceeded to steal 2nd during SS Chad De La Guerra’s at-bat before advancing to 3rd on a single by LF Sam Travis two batters later. With runners at the corner and 2 outs in the inning, RF Rusney Castillo came to the plate. On the very first pitch during the at-bat, Castillo knocked a single into left field that drove in G. Hernandez to make it 1-0.
The PawSox were able to tack on another run in the bottom 3rd as De La Guerra hit a solo home run off of Reyes deep into center field to make it 2-0.
For the most part, D. Hernandez was able to hold off the Bulls for the first 3 innings as he got bailed out of jams with an inning-ending double-play. But in the top 4th, the Bulls were able to break through.
3B Mike Brosseau led the inning off with a double into left field. He was then able to move up to 3rd on a wild pitch during teammate 1B Nate Lowe’s at-bat, who then got on base via walk. With runner’s at the corner, LF Nick Solak came to the plate. Solak hit a bouncer to the shortstop, allowing Brosseau to score to make it 2-1.
The PawSox nearly answered back in the bottom 5th. 2B Josh Tobias led the inning off with an infield single, barely beating out the throw. Then G. Hernandez hit a double deep into right field as Tobias tried to score from 1st. However he ended up getting thrown out at the plate as the PawSox missed out on a scoring opportunity.
In the top 6th, D. Hernandez was lifted as RHP Tyler Thornburg, still on his MLB injury rehab assignment, came in to pitch the inning. After getting the first Bulls batter he faced to strikeout, Thornburg gave up a single to Lowe before walking Solak. Two batters later, DH Joe McCarthy came to the plate with two outs in the inning. On a 2-2 count, McCarthy ended up singling into right field to drive in Lowe to tie the game at 2-2.
Thornburg was then lifted as RHP Jenrry Mejia came in to get the final out of the inning. He then faced RF Jason Coats. On the first pitch he saw, Coats doubled into left field that drove in Solak to make it 3-2. However on that play, it looked like the ball landed in foul territory. Much to the dismay of the PawSox, the umps allowed the play and the run to stand.
The PawSox tried to rally back after that in the later innings. Unfortunately they ended up falling short as the Bulls ended up taking Game 1 on the final score of 3-2.
In his PawSox debut, D. Hernandez went 5 innings, allowing just 1 run (1 earned) on 2 hits while giving up 7 walks and striking out 2 batters on 95 pitches (49 for strikes) and ended up with the no-decision. Thornburg was given the loss as he just went 0.2 innings, allowed 2 runs (2 earned) on 2 hits, while walking 1 batter and striking out another on 22 pitches (13 for strikes). Thornburg was also given a blown save as well.
The winning pitcher for the Bulls was Reyes, who went 6 innings while allowed 2 runs (2 earned) on 6 hits, giving up 2 walks, 1 home run, and striking out 5 batters on 87 pitches (51 for strikes).
Game 2 began approximately 31 minutes after the finish of Game 1. Taking the mound for the PawSox was RHP Ryan Weber (1-2, 6.84) as opposing him was Bulls RHP Jose De Leon (0-0, 3.93).
The PawSox had an opportunity to get the game’s first run in the bottom 2nd. They were able to load the bases with 2 outs in the inning as 3B Jantzen Witte came to the plate. After a 7-pitch battle, De Leon got Witte to groundout on the next pitch to end the inning.
However they didn’t have to wait long to get their first run of the game.
In the bottom 3rd, SS Chad De La Guerra led the inning off with a leadoff single. He was then able to score on an RBI double by teammate 1B Sam Travis to give their team the early 1-0 lead. A walk to RF Rusney Castillo put two men on base with 0 outs in the inning. However during DH Josh Ockimey’s at-bat, Travis was thrown out trying to steal 3rd while Castillo stole 2nd successfully. Unfortunately Ockimey struck out and then LF Cole Sturgeon flew out to center to end the inning.
The Bulls then came charging back in the following top 4th.
After the PawSox made some defensive changes (Bryce Brentz coming in to play RF, Castillo moved to CF), 3B Mike Brosseau lead the inning off with a single into right field followed by a walk to RF Joe McCarthy. Then 1B Dalton Kelly came to the plate. On a 0-2 count, Kelly hit a single into right field to drive in a run to tie the game at 1-1. Then DH Brendan McKay broke the tie with a single into right field to drive in another run to make it 2-1. After McKay’s single, Weber was then lifted and LHP Bobby Poyner came into the game.
Poyner then got the next two batters he faced to strikeout as it seemed like the PawSox were going to exit the inning with little damage. However Poyner surrendered a 2 RBI single to CF Nathan Lukes to make it 4-1 in favor of the visitors. Luckily Poyner got the next Bulls batter to fly out to center to end the inning.
The PawSox were able to claw their way back into the game.
First in the bottom 4th, 2B Nick Lovullo hit a solo home run off of Bulls LHP Vidal Nuno over the left field wall to make it 4-2. Then in the bottom 5th, Castillo hit a solo home run of his own off of Bulls RHP Mike Franco over the center field wall to make it 4-3.
In the bottom 7th, the PawSox continued their rally as 1B Sam Travis got on with a 1-out single into left field against Bulls RHP Hunter Woods. Then Ockimey hit a fly ball into shallow left field as it landed in between 3 Bulls players as that allowed Travis to reach 3rd safely to put runners at the corner. Then Sturgeon came to the plate. On a 1-2 count, Sturgeon hit a ball directly at Bulls 2B Nick Solak in what would have been a game-ending groundout. Instead Solak bobbled the ball, allowing Sturgeon to reach base safely as Travis scored to tie the game at 4-4, sending it into extra innings.
In the top 8th, the Bulls had McCarthy start off out on 2nd to begin the inning as the PawSox went with RHP Domingo Tapia to pitch the inning. Tapia got the first two Bulls batters he faced in the inning out via strikeout and popout respectively. Then the Bulls decided to use INF Nate Lowe to pinch-hit in place of LF Emilio Bonifacio. On a 0-2 count, Lowe singled into right field to drive in McCarthy as the go-ahead run to make it 5-4.
The PawSox tried one more time to rally in the bottom 10th as they started the inning with C Oscar Hernandez on 2nd. However Lovullo and Brentz each struck out as Witte grounded out to the third baseman to end the game and give the Bulls the 5-4 victory.
Weber was given the no-decision for the PawSox. He went 3 innings , allowing 4 runs (4 earned) on 7 hits while giving up 1 walk and striking out 2 batters on 69 pitches (44 for strikes). The losing pitcher for the PawSox ended up being Tapia, who pitched 1 inning, allowing 1 run (1 earned) on 1 hit, while walking 1 batter and striking out another on 27 pitches (19 for strikes). The winning pitcher for the Bulls was Woods, who went 2 innings while allowed 2 runs (2 earned) on 2 hits, giving up 0 walks, and striking out 3 batters on 27 pitches (24 for strikes). Woods was also given a blown save as well.
The two teams will meet for the series finale on Thursday, June 20, with first pitch being at 7:05 p.m. pending weather. Taking the mound for the PawSox will be RHP Erasmo Ramirez (2-3, 5.13) as the Bulls will counter with RHP Austin Pruitt (3-2, 5.46).