One night after dominating Pawtucket in a 7-1 win, the Red Wings stumbled in the field and fell behind early in a 7-2 loss to the PawSox Thursday night at Frontier Field. Five of Pawtucket's runs were unearned due to two errors. Ray Olmedo had three of Rochester's seven hits.
The International League Governors' Cup Playoff best-of-five series is now tied at one game each, and continues in Pawtucket Friday night with a 7:05 p.m. game. Left-hander Pat Dean will take the mound Friday for the Wings. The game will be carried locally on 1280-AM WHTK and online at WHTK.com with The Voice of the Wings Josh Whetzel™, and also available on MiLB.TV (subscription required).
Expanded Governors' Cup Playoff coverage presented by Canandaigua National Bank & Trust - CNBank.com
Rochester starting pitcher P.J. Walters made his seventh career postseason start, including four at the Triple-A level. Walters was 1-0 with a 3.18 ERA against Pawtucket this season, including a seven-inning complete game shutout on April 21. On Thursday, Walters issued two walks but didn't allow a run in the first - helped in part by catcher Eric Fryer's sliding catch in foul territory for the final out of the inning.
Pawtucket had Boston Red Sox right-hander Clay Buchholz making a rehab start in what was expected to be his second and final appearance with the PawSox before rejoining Boston's rotation next week. Buchholz retired the first two Wings batters he faced Thursday, and then yielded a single to hot hitting Eduardo Escobar (nine-game hitting streak to end the regular season; two more hits in Game One Wednesday). Buchholz struck out Chris Parmelee to end the Rochester first.
Aaron Hicks drew a one-put walk off Buchholz in the second inning. Eric Farris flew out to left field for the second out. With Hicks running from first base, Olmedo hit a check-swing chopper down the third base line. Pawtucket third baseman Justin Henry charged in to field the ball, but didn't make a throw to first base on Olmedo. Henry was far enough away from third base that he left third unoccupied, and Hicks kept running to advance to third. Olmedo stole second to put runners at second and third base, but Buchholz caught looking at a called third strike to end the threat.
Through two innings, Buchholz had thrown 44 pitches.
The Red Sox were hitless entering the third inning, but loaded the bases on three straight singles. Pawtucket scored its first run on a four-pitch walk to Alex Hassan, which forced Heiker Meneses home from third. The Wings' infield turned a double play on a groundball hit by Mark Hamilton, with a run scoring to give the PawSox a 2-0 lead. Walters struck out Bryce Brentz to strand a runner at third.
Buchholz added two more strikeouts in a one-two-three third inning, and had thrown 55 pitches through three innings.
Jeremy Hazelbaker started the Pawtucket fourth inning with a hard hit chopper to shortstop. Escobar had the ball skip off his glove and up over his head, and the hustling Hazelbaker never stopped running and slid into second base. The play was scored an error. Hazelbaker moved to third on a ground out, and then scored on a sacrifice fly by Christian Vasquez to make it 3-0 Pawtucket. Meneses followed with his second single of the game, and Jackie Bradley, Jr. hit a ground rule double down the right field line. Brock Holt followed with a hard-hit single up the middle that padded the lead to 5-0, and marked the end of Walters' night. Logan Darnell relieved Walters, and struck out Hassan for the third out.
Walters (0-1) worked 3 2/3 innings and allowed six hits, five runs (two earned) and three walks while striking out two.
Parmelee worked Buchholz for a walk to start the Rochester fourth, and Deibinson Romero clubbed an 0-2 pitch to the gap in left-center for a RBI double and a 5-1 score. Buchholz got the next two batters on pop ups, but Olmedo stroked a single to right which scored Romero and the Wings pulled to within three runs, 5-3. That put Buchholz at 71 pitches, right around his pitch limit for the night. Brayan Villarreal replace Buchholz, and got Fryer to ground out to end the rally.
Buchholz allowed four hits and two walks in 3 2/3 innings, striking out five.
A fielding miscue hurt the Wings again in the fifth inning. Hamilton hit a grounder to first base, and Darnell couldn't handle Parmelee's toss to first. The throw went into the dugout and Hamilton ended up at second base. Brentz followed with a double, and Hamilton scored to give the PawSox a 6-2 lead. Vasquez singled in another run, boosting the lead to 7-2.
Darnell began the sixth by striking out Bradley, Jr. and Holt in consecutive at-bats. He completed the 1-2-3 inning when Hassan flew out to center. Darnell tossed 2 1/3 innings, giving up two unearned runs on two hits with four strikeouts. Edgar Ibarra came in to relieve Darnell in the top of the seventh, and promptly struck out Hamilton, Brentz and Hazelbaker in order.
With one out in the bottom of the seventh, Olmedo sent a comebacker to the mound at PawSox reliever Chris Martin. Martin knocked the ball down with his throwing hand, but was unable to regain his balance before sending a wild throw past first. Olmedo reached second on the error. He tagged up and advanced to third on a fly out to right by Fryer, but Antoan Richardson was caught looking at strike three to end the inning.
Rochester was able to put runners on first and third with one out in the bottom of the eighth. Escobar and Parmelee hit back-to-back singles against Red Sox reliever Ryan Rowland-Smith. Rowland-Smith escaped the inning unscathed after Romero grounded into a double play.
Villarreal, Alex Wilson, Martin (1-0) and Rowland-Smith combined for 51/3 scoreless innings out of the Pawtucket bullpen.
NOTES: Durham hung on to beat Indianapolis 6-5 in Game Two of the other IL Governors' Cup playoff series. Durham leads the series 2-0... The Class A Cedar Rapids Kernels lost 4-2 to Quad Cities Thursday night, dropping their best-of-three series 2-0.
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9/6 @ PAW 7:05 p.m. RHP Steven Wright (8-7, 3.46 ERA) vs. LHP Pat Dean (3-2, 2.03 ERA) WHTK 1280 AM
*9/7 @ PAW 6:05 p.m. TBA vs. LHP Scott Diamond (4-0, 2.41 ERA) WHTK 1280 AM
*Game 4 if necessary
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