(Pawtucket, RI) - Pawtucket starter Matt Barnes allowed just two hits in 6.1 shutout innings while the offense put together three three-run innings as the PawSox blanked the Lehigh Valley IronPigs for the second straight night, this time 9-0, Wednesday in front of 6,516 fans at McCoy Stadium.
Allen Craig, playing in the second game of his MLB injury rehab assignment, played five innings right field and went 1-for-3 with a two-run single that made the score 5-0. The 30-year-old, on the disabled list since August 2nd, is attempting to return to Boston from a sprained left foot.
Barnes (7-8) retired 17 of the first 18 men he faced and at one point 15 consecutive Lehigh Valley batters. He walked three and struck out seven and combined with two relievers on a three-hitter. The PawSox scored three times in the second, fifth and sixth innings.
With the win, Pawtucket (73-59) moved 2.5 games ahead of Rochester in the IL wildcard standings with 12 games remaining, pending the result of the Red Wings road game at Buffalo. The squad also remained 3.0 games behind first-place Syracuse in the North Division, as the Chiefs won at Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.
Carlos Rivero's RBI single highlighted the three-run rally in the second that put Pawtucket in the lead for good against IronPigs starter Brad Lincoln (6-10). The inning also included a throwing error by catcher Cameron Rupp on Deven Marrero's stolen base that allowed a run to score.
Lincoln allowed three runs on four hits in the fifth, with Craig's two-run single and an RBI double by Bryce Brentz capping the frame. Ryan Roberts' two-run homer (7) and Justin Henry's RBI triple against reliever Ethan Martin in the sixth finished the scoring for the night.
Jose Valdez stranded two of Barnes inherited runners in the seventh and then tossed a scoreless eighth before Heath Hembree pitched a scoreless ninth to finish the shutout. The PawSox blanked Lehigh Valley by a 7-0 score in the series opener on Tuesday.
Game three of the series is slated for a 7:05 pm first pitch on Wednesday night. The PawSox are slated to start left-hander Henry Owens (1-1, 4.08) while the IronPigs will counter with veteran righty Sean O'Sullivan (5-10, 4.55).
Good seats are still available at the McCoy Stadium box office, by calling (401) 724-7300 or by visiting pawsox.com. Radio coverage on 920 AM (WHJJ) and also streaming online begins at 6:50 pm.