Ryan L. Fox
On a sunny, warm Monday evening, the Pawtucket Red Sox continued their July 13-game home stand. This time around, they welcome in the Louisville Bats, the Triple-A affiliate of the Cincinnati Reds, for a 3-game midweek series. Already the two teams have played a 3-game midweek series back on June 11 at Louisville Slugger Stadium in Louisville, Kentucky, where the PawSox took 2 out of 3 in that series.
Taking the mound for the PawSox was LHP Kyle Hart (4-3, 3.60) as the Bats countered with RHP Tejay Antone (2-2, 4.87).
After a scoreless 1st inning, the PawSox were able to get the game’s first score.
In the bottom 2nd, CF Rusney Castillo led the inning off with a single into right field. A single by teammate 2B Chad De La Guerra allowed Castillo to advance to 2nd as he then advanced to 3rd during the next at-bat. With Castillo in scoring position, 1B Josh Ockimey came to the plate. On a 3-1 count, Ockimey knocked the next Antone pitch he saw into left field that allowed Castillo to score to give the home team the early 1-0 lead.
Then in the bottom 4th, the PawSox were able to load up the bases against the Bats with one out in the inning.
Then LF Cole Sturgeon came to the plate.
Sturgeon then hit a deep flyball into the deepest part of the McCoy outfield as the runner from 3rd (3B Jantzen Witte) was able to score while the man on 2nd (1B Josh Ockimey) was able to advance to 3rd. However DH Gorkys Hernandez grounded out to the second baseman to end the inning.
For the most part of the game, the Bats had multiple scoring oppurtunities but couldn’t capitalize.
In the top 2nd, they loaded up the bases but came up empty. In the top 7th, they got runners in the corners but came up empty again.
In the top 8th, the Bats were able to break through against PawSox RHP .
Bats RF Aristides Aquino led the inning off with a single to right field. Then 1B Nick Longhi singled into right field as Aquino advanced all the way to 3rd. With runners at the corner, LF Narcisco Crook came to the plate. On the 2nd pitch during the at-bat, Tapia’s pitch got behind C Juan Centeno and went all the way to the backstop. Aquino scored to make it 2-1 while Longhi moved up to 3rd. Luckily for the PawSox, Tapia was able to settle in and got the next 3 batters he faced in the inning to strikeout and induced back-to-back groundouts.
The Bats had one more chance to try to win the game or at least send it into extra innings. However LHP Bobby Poyner mowed through the Bats, including striking out 2 of the 3 batters he faced, to end the game and give the PawSox the season opener on the final score of 2-1.
Hart got the win for the PawSox, his 5th of the year. He went 6 innings while allowing 5 hits, 0 runs, issued 4 walks, and struck out 4 batters on 102 pitches (59 for strikes). Poyner was awarded the save in the 9th, his 4th of the 2019 campaign. The losing pitcher for the Bats was Antone, who went 6 innings while giving up 7 hits, 2 runs (2 earned), issuing 4 walks, and striking out 2 PawSox batters on 97 pitches (55 for strikes).
Interestingly enough, the game also marked the Triple-A debut of the Boston Red Sox’s No. 5 overall prospect in their farm system (according to MLB.com) RHP Tanner Houck. Houck came in to pitch the 7th as he ended up walking 2 Bats batters during the inning. However, with a man in scoring position in the inning, he was able to induce a groundout fielder’s choice for the final out of the inning.
The two teams will face each other again on Tuesday at 7:05 p.m., pending weather. Taking the mound for the Bats will be RHP Keury Mella (5-9, 5.00). As of right now, the PawSox will be countering with LHP Matthew Kent (0-4, 10.50).
After the game, PawSox manager Billy McMillon spoke with the media for his postgame Q & A session. In the session, McMillon spoke about his team’s performance, the PawSox pitchers, and more.
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