Steven Wright shut down the Red Wings in a 5-1 Pawtucket Red Sox win Friday night at McCoy Stadium. The win puts the PawSox ahead in the best-of-five series two games to one, with a chance to end the first round series Saturday at 6:05 p.m. Eric Farris had two hits and a walk, and made an outstanding catch in the outfield. Rochester sends Scott Diamond to the mound Saturday, with Matt Barnes starting for Pawtucket.
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The mound matchup featured Rochester rookie left-hander Pat Dean, who pitched for Boston College and lives in nearby Naugatuck, MA. Dean was opposed by knuckleballer Wright, who blanked the Wings for seven innings at Frontier Field July 6. Wright retired the Wings in order in the first inning, but Dean's first inning wasn't quite as smooth. With one out, Dean allowed a pair of singles and a walk to load the bases for the dangerous Bryce Brentz. Dean snagged a comebacker to the mound, threw home to catcher Eric Fryer for a force out, then Fryer threw to first to complete the double play and escape trouble.
Aaron Hicks became the Wings' first baserunner when he doubled with two out in the second inning. Hicks stole third, but Farris was retired after a hard hit ball to the hole at short. Shortstop Heiker Meneses and first baseman Drew Sutton combined for nice defense on both ends of the play for the third out.
A throwing error helped the PawSox take the lead in the second inning. After a fine fielding play at shortstop, Eduardo Escobar's throw to first was in the dirt and Dan Butler ended up at second base with none out. Brock Holt followed with a single to score Butler, and Pawtucket led 1-0. A ground out by Jackie Bradley, Jr. pushed the lead to 2-0 after two innings.
The Wings mounted another scoring threat in the third inning. Ray Olmedo doubled and Fryer walked, and Jermaine Mitchell put down a perfect sacrifice bunt to move the runners over. James Beresford walked, but Escobar hit into a double play and was called out at first base despite appearing to beat the throw.
Left fielder Farris made the defensive play of the series so far in the bottom of the third inning. With two outs and a runner at third, Butler drilled a line drive toward the gap ion left-center field. Farris ran to his left, dove and then snagged the ball while falling to the ground for the third out of the inning.
The Wings left two more runners on base against Wright in the fourth, running their team total to five left on base at that point. With two outs and two on, Olmedo lofted a ball down the left field line that landed foul by a couple of feet. Olmedo grounded out to end the rally attempt.
Dean (0-1) recovered from the shaky start to retire six straight batters, until Sutton singled with one out in the fifth inning. Dean recorded his first strikeout of the game when he retired Alex Hassan for the second out;. that's when Hamilton hit a two-run homer over the wall in right field, putting Pawtucket ahead 4-0.
The Wings had another scoring chance in the sixth, with runners at second and third with two outs. Wright notched his fifth strikeout of the game against Olmedo, and Rochester had added to their left on base total.
Dean worked five innings, allowing eight hits and four runs (three earned), walking one and striking out one. Rookie Trevor May relieved Dean in the sixth, making his Triple-A debut after joining the Wings this week from Double-A New Britain.
Wright (1-0) exited with one out in the seventh, after allowing a single to Mitchell. Wright threw 117 pitches, allowing six hits and four walks while recording six strikeouts. Pedro Beato replaced Wright and allowed a bunt hit to Beresford, then struck out the next two batters to end the inning.
The Red Wings finally got on the scoreboard in the eighth inning against Beato. With one out, Hicks singled and Farris drew a walk. Olmedo singled to drive in Hicks and make it a 4-1 game. Ryan Rowland-Smith took over for Beato and struck out the next two batters.
May worked 2 2/3 innings, allowing two hits, an earned run and a walk while striking out three.
Pawtucket out-hit the Wings 11-9. Rochester left 13 men on base in the game, and made three errors.
NOTES: Jermaine Mitchell made a long running attempt at catching a foul pop off the bat of Drew Sutton in the fifth inning. Mitchell ran full speed and just missed the ball, while running into the wall padding in front of the right field bleachers. Mitchell collided with the low railing and was knocked to the ground for a moment, then quickly bounced up and ran back to his spot in right field....Durham topped Indianapolis 2-1 Friday night in Game Three of their playoff series, with Durham sweeping the series 3-0. Durham will host the winner of the Rochester-Pawtucket series beginning Tuesday night.
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9/7 @PAW 6:05 p.m. LHP Scott Diamond (4-0, 2.41) vs. Matt Barnes (1-0, 0.00WHTK 1280 AM
9/8 @PAW 1:05 (Game Five if necessary)