Ryan L. Fox
With only three games left before the All-Star break, the Pawtucket Red Sox looked to finish the first half of their season strong. They kicked off a 3-game weekend series with the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders with the first game of the series taking place before a crowd of 4,929 on Friday night.
Taking the mound for the PawSox was starter RHP Justin Haley (4-6, 3.06) as the RailRiders countered with the 4th overall prospect in the New York Yankees farm system, starter RHP Chance Adams (3-3, 4.97).
The game started off with a bang for the RailRiders. After SS Abiatal Avelino got on via single, 1B Bill McKinney was up to bat. After a long at-bat, McKinney took the 9th pitch on a 3-2 count to right field to give the visiting RailRiders an early 2-0 lead.
Then in the bottom 1st inning, SS PawSox Tzu-Wei Lin led things off with a leadoff walk. Four batters later, 1B Adam Lind hit a single up to left field to drive in Lin from third base to give the PawSox their first run of the game to make it 2-1. A walk to LF Sam Travis loaded the bases up but then 3B Ivan De Jesus Jr. struck out swinging to end the inning.
After which, the game then became a pitching matchup between both teams as each staff managed to keep the opposing batters in check.
The next score between each team came in the top 5th inning. Facing a 1-1 count with two outs and a 2 men on base, RailRiders SS Abiatal Avelino hit a ball up to second base in what would normally be a ground out to the second base. However right before SS Tzu-Wei Lin could field the ball, it bounced right off the bag and into the outfield. RailRiders LF Zack Zehner was able to score from second to extend the lead to 3-1.
In the bottom 6th inning, Travis got the ball rolling for the PawSox with a leadoff single. A hit-by-pitch by De Jesus Jr. and a sac bunt by C Oscar Hernandez put men on second and third with only one out for 2B Mike Miller. On a 1-0 pitch, he hit a ball to right that found the glove of RailRiders RF Mark Payton. However it was deep enough for Travis to be able to score from third to allow the PawSox to draw closer 3-2.
The PawSox had one last gasp of offense in the bottom 9th inning as Lin was able to draw a 2-out walk. However RF Jordan Wren struck out for the final out as the visiting RailRiders took the series opener by the final score of 3-2.
Haley ended up getting the loss for the PawSox (his 7th on the year), going just 3.0 innings while giving up 3 hits, 2 runs (both were earned), 1 walk, and 2 strikeouts on 52 pitches with 33 of those being for strikes.
The two teams will square off again on Saturday evening at 6:05 p.m. with LHP Drew Pomeranz making his second rehab start (0-1, 9.00) as he will be facing off against RailRiders LHP Josh Rogers (6-5, 3.53).
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