It's unlikely that members of the Spinners will be suiting up for the Red Sox and playing at Fenway Park anytime soon. But for one day, the short-season affiliate got to experience what that might be like -- and it did not disappoint.
The novelty had not yet worn off Monday, following the 6-1 loss to Mahoning Valley in Boston during the 2014 Futures at Fenway a day earlier. Back at Edward A. LeLacheur Park, the Spinners bounced back with an 8-5 victory over the Scrappers.
Lowell received key performances from right-hander Ty Buttrey, who did not allow a hit over four scoreless innings in his rehab start, and left fielder Nick Moore, who set single-game career highs with two home runs and four RBIs.
Though neither played at Fenway Park on Sunday, both felt lucky to be present for the unique opportunity.
"The day itself was awesome," Moore said. "The experience was unlike anything else. Basically being big-league for one day, and we got the royal treatment over there. They treated us really well.
"It was an awesome experience for us and really cool to play on a field like that. That's your dream to get there, and it was really awesome that we got to do it ahead of time."
Moore watched Sunday's game from the dugout and Buttrey took it in from the stands. Each player was impressed by the sizeable gathering of 8,104 who showed up to watch the Spinners.
"That was one of the coolest things I've ever been to," Buttrey said. "Probably more than half the stadium was filled up. All of those people wanted to come out and see us play. It was just an unbelievable experience."
In his return from a broken hand, Buttrey fanned four hitters and walked two Monday. He also threw a wild pitch while inducing four groundouts and one flyout.
The 2012 fourth-round pick was coming off two starts in the Gulf Coast League, where he gave up one run across five innings -- two on July 3 and three on July 8. Prior to that, he went 0-3 with a 11.91 ERA in four starts at Class A Greenville.
"Honestly, when I was warming up in the 'pen, and even down in Florida when I was doing a couple starts down there, just the way I was throwing the ball and how it was coming off my hand and how everything was clicking felt good," Buttrey said. "I don't mean to sound like I knew I would pitch well, but I was confident, I knew what I had to do. I definitely felt a lot more comfortable out there, more relaxed."
In three years of playing with Buttrey, Moore said Monday marked his finest performance yet. The pitcher could probably say the same thing about the position player.
Moore hit a solo homer to left-center field off Scrappers starter Julian Merryweather with one out in the third inning. Later, he launched a three-run shot to right off reliever Anthony Vizcaya with one out in the seventh.
Through 16 games at Lowell, the 2011 30th-round pick is batting .254/.277/.492 with three home runs and 12 RBIs.
"I haven't had the power numbers that I wanted to from last year, but this year, I've been swinging the bat pretty well," said Moore, who played 24 games for Greenville last year. "I've been driving the ball a little bit more, gap-to-gap. I mean, I'd like to be like a Chipper Jones, a guy that can do it a couple times, from both sides of the plate. So that's one of the things I'm working on, is trying to drive the ball and see if I can get it over the wall a couple times."
Though Spinners reliever Ellis Jimenez (2-1) blew the save, he pick up the win after allowing one run on three hits over 2 1/3 innings. Vizcaya (1-3) took the loss after giving up three runs in one frame.