Ryan L. Fox
It’s one thing if you need to play a doubleheader due to weather postponement. It’s another thing if the doubleheader you were supposed to play gets postponed. That’s what happened to the Pawtucket Red Sox this past Tuesday in their midweek series against the Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs.
Originally the two teams were supposed to play a doubleheader on Tuesday, May 28, with Game 2 being a make-up game for a game back on April 22 that was postponed due to weather. Instead, the doubleheader was rained out. So Wednesday’s contest was turned into a doubleheader with Game 1 being the regular game being played while Game 2 was the make-up game for Tuesday’s rainout.
In Game 1, RHP Josh Smith (1-2, 6.10) took to the mound for the PawSox as the IronPigs countered with LHP Cole Irvin (2-0, 2.25).
For the first 3 innings in Game 1, Smith and Irvin were locked in a pitching duel. Each pitcher was able to stymie the other’s offenses and hold them off the scoreboard. But the scoreless affair only lasted till the 4th inning.
In the bottom 4th, after 3B Jantzen Witte grounded out, RF Rusney Castillo singled into left field and then LF Sam Travis drew a walk to put men on 1st and 2nd with no outs. Two batters later, 2B Marco Hernandez was intentionally walked to load up the bases for the PawSox with DH Bryce Brentz coming to the plate. On a 2-1 count, Brentz saw an Irvin pitch right down the middle and knocked it over the right field wall for a grand slam to give the PawSox the early 4-0 lead.
But in the bottom 5th, C Rob Brantly lead the inning off for the IronPigs with a double into right field. Then LF Damek Tomscha came to the plate. Facing a 2-2 count, Tomscha saw a Smith pitch right down the middle and proceed to hit it over the left field wall for a 2-run home run to make it 4-2. However the next 3 IronPigs batters ended up flying or popping out to end the inning.
In the top 6th, DH Andrew Romine led the inning off for the IronPigs with a leadoff triple into right field. He then was able to score on a sac fly into center by teammate 1B Deivy Grullon as the IronPigs drew closer, 4-3. After issuing a walk to 3B Mitch Walding, Smith faced against IronPigs 2B Ali Castillo. A. Castillo knocked a ball directly at M. Hernandez’ way in what would be an inning-ending double-play. Instead, M. Hernandez mishandled the ball, allowing A. Castillo to reach base safely and extend the inning.
PawSox manager Billy McMillon decided to go to the bullpen as RHP Trevor Kelley came into the game. Kelley got the first batter he faced to pop out before issuing a walk to another to load the bases. He then faced SS Malquin Canelo before forcing him to fly out to right field to end the inning.
In the bottom 6th, after R. Castillo flew out to right to start the inning, both Travis and 1B Josh Ockmiey drew walks to put men on 1st and 2nd. They were able to move up a base due to a balk being called on IronPigs LHP Kyle Dohy as two batters later, Brentz drew a walk. Then CF Gorkys Hernandez came to the plate and proceeded to hit a routine groundout to the shortstop. However Canelo overthrew Grullon, allowing all 3 PawSox baserunners to score to make it 7-3. G. Hernandez himself was able to move advance to 3rd on the play due to a throwing error by Grullon. A walk to C Juan Centeno put men at the corners but SS Mike Miller ended up grounding out to end the inning.
The IronPigs tried to rally back in the top 7th inning as they got men on 1st and 2nd with 2 outs in the inning. However Walding ended up striking out to end the IronPigs threat, giving the PawSox the Game 1 victory on the final score of 7-3.
Josh A. Smith was the winning pitcher for the PawSox. He ended up going 5.1 innings, giving up 7 hits, 3 runs (all earned), 1 home run, 1 walk, and struck out 3 IronPigs batters on 88 pitches (56 for strikes). Kelley was awarded the save, his first of the season. RHP Luke Leftwich ended up taking the loss for the visitors, going 2.1 innings while allowing 2 hits, 5 runs (only 4 were earned), giving up 3 walks, and striking out 2 batters on 41 pitches (23 for strikes).
Game 2 began approximately 35 minutes after the finish of Game 1. Taking the mound for the PawSox was LHP Jeremy Bleich (2-1, 4.67) as opposing him was IronPigs RHP Tyler Viza (0-4, 6.19).
The IronPigs wasted no time, jumping all over Bleich.
DH Lane Adams got things started with a leadoff double into left field in the top 1st. Adams then came around to score on teammate LF Adam Haseley’s double to give the IronPigs the early 1-0. Haseley himself scored on a single by teammate SS Andrew Romine to push the lead to 2-0. The IronPigs then proceeded to load the bases with 1 out in the inning but Bleich got two key strikeouts to end the inning before any more damage was done.
But in the top 2nd, Haseley got another RBI double to drive in Adams again to push the IronPigs lead up to 3-0 with 1 out in the inning. Haseley ended up getting stranded at 2nd as Belich got the next 2 IronPigs batters to popout and groundout to end the inning.
The PawSox had to wait until the bottom 4th to get their first run of the game. After 1B Sam Travis popped out to first, DH Josh Ockimey got on base via walk before advancing to 3rd on 2B Marco Hernandez’s double to put runners in scoring position. Ockimey was able to score from 3rd on CF Gorkys Hernandez’s groundout to make it 3-1. However LF Cole Sturgeon grounded out to 1st to end the inning.
The PawSox tried to build off their success in the bottom 4th in the bottom 6th. After drawing a walk, Travis proceeded to steal 2nd and 3rd during Ockimey and M. Hernandez’s at-bats. M. Hernandez himself drew a walk to put runners at the corners with one out in the inning. But then G. Hernandez struck out swinging and Sturgeon grounded out to 1st to end the inning.
They had one more chance to rally back in the bottom 7th. After C Oscar Hernandez flew out to left field to lead off the inning, SS Mike Miller hit a double deep into center field while 3B Chad De La Guerra drew a walk to put men on base with 1 out in the inning. Unfortunately RF Rusney Castillo struck out while looking and Travis struck out swinging to end the game, giving the IronPigs the 3-1 victory in Game 2 to split the doubleheader.
The losing pitcher for the PawSox was Bleich. He ended up going just 2 innings, giving up 5 hits while allowing 3 runs (all earned), walked 2 batters, and struck out 3 more on 50 pitches (28 for strikes). The winning pitch for the IronPigs was LHP Tom Windle, who came on relief in the bottom 5th. Windle went just 1 inning while allowing 1 hit and striking out 1 batter on 18 pitches (13 for strikes). Viza, on the other hand, was awarded the no-decision since he only pitched 4 innings (needed to pitch into the 5th inning to qualify for the win).
The two teams will meet for the series finale on Thursday, May 30, with first pitch being at 11:05 a.m. Taking the mound for the PawSox will be RHP Teddy Stankiewicz (2-3, 3.38) as the IronPigs will counter with LHP Ranger Suarez (2-1, 6.58).
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