(Pawtucket, RI) - In his first game after returning back from the Major Leagues, Pawtucket's Corey Brown drilled a walkoff solo home run in the bottom of the ninth after starter Henry Owens pitched eight terrific innings as the PawSox topped the Lehigh Valley IronPigs, 3-2, Thursday night in front of 6,522 fans at McCoy Stadium.
Brown hit his team-leading 17th long ball of the season out to right with one out in the ninth against reliever Phillippe Aumont (3-2) to snap a 2-2 tie. He had missed the team's previous 16 games while playing for Boston. Owens allowed only two runs and five hits while striking out six.
With its third straight win, Pawtucket (74-59) remained 3.0 games ahead of Buffalo in the IL wildcard standings with 11 games remaining, as the Bisons won their series opener against Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. The squad moved within 2.5 games of first-place Syracuse in the North Division, pending the result of the Chiefs game against Rochester.
The PawSox held a 2-0 lead into the fifth on the strength of a fielder's choice RBI from Travis Shaw in the first and a solo home run from Jackie Bradley, Jr. (1) in the third. But Lehigh Valley centerfielder Tyler Henson (7) lifted a two-run opposite field homer with two outs in the fifth against Owens to knot the score.
IronPigs starter Sean O'Sullivan matched Owens pitch for pitch for much of the night, giving up only two runs and five hits in his seven innings of work. PawSox reliever Miguel Celestino (1-2) struck out a pair in a 1-2-3 top of the ninth to earn the victory.
The PawSox eight-game homestand concludes Friday night as the finale of the four-game series is scheduled to begin at 7:05 pm with Pawtucket looking for a four-game sweep. The PawSox are slated to activate and then start right-hander Steven Wright (5-3, 2.76) while the IronPigs will counter with veteran lefty Greg Smith (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.