PAWTUCKET, RI - An early offensive outburst by the Pawtucket Red Sox sunk the Louisville Bats in a 5-2 defeat on Saturday night at McCoy Stadium. After a four-run third inning propelled the Red Sox to a 5-0 lead, Louisville couldn't create enough offense to overcome the deficit, dropping its second game in a row on the tails of a five-game winning streak.
Louisville first ran into trouble in the second inning when the Red Sox plated one run, but limited the damage by leaving the bases loaded. The Bats did not escape with the same fortunate fate in the next frame, as Pawtucket again loaded the bases, then cleared them with a Carlos Rivero triple to make it 5-0.
Bats' starter Jair Jurrjens (1-1, 4.91) settled down after his early trouble and retired the last 11 batters he faced, giving Louisville ample opportunity at a comeback. After getting a run back in the fifth and seventh frames to make it 5-2, the Bats had the tying run at the plate in the eighth with no outs, but couldn't put together a rally that would have pushed their record to back over the .500 mark.
In Jurrjens' second start with the Bats, the right-hander gave up six hits, five runs, and three walks while striking out four. Five days ago in his first appearance with the club, Jurrjens was stellar, fanning eight and giving up just one walk and one run in five innings.
In both the fifth and seventh innings, Louisville got their much needed offensive production from infielder Argenis Diaz, who ripped a double to plate Neftali Soto in the fifth, then singled home Ruben Gotay in the seventh. Diaz's seventh inning single was one of three in the inning, and also gave him his second consecutive multi-hit game.
It looked like Louisville was about to tighten up the contest even further in the eighth when Kristopher Negron and Jason Bourgeois both reached base to lead off the inning. The rally was quickly thwarted, however, when reliever Tommy Layne entered the game and induced a double play and strike out to get out of the inning with the three-run lead intact.
Pawtucket added two insurance runs in the eighth off Bats reliever Chad Rogers, who pitched the final two innings for Louisville. Red Sox starter Matt Barnes (2-4, 4.69) earned the victory, giving up two earned runs and seven hits in six-and-two thirds innings, walking none and striking out three.
Negron also had a pair of hits for the Bats, running his hitting streak to a season-high 10 games. Although Louisville had nine hits on the night, Diaz's RBI double was the team's lone knock for extra bases.
Game two of the series will be Sunday afternoon at 1:05 PM when Bats RHP Chien-Ming Wang (6-4, 3.96) starts against LHP Chris Hernandez (2-6, 3.48) of Pawtucket. Wang has won three consecutive starts for the Bats, and leads the team in innings pitched.