(Pawtucket, RI) - Pawtucket exploded for eight unanswered runs in the third and fourth innings including scoring five in the fourth while Henry Owens struck out nine batters as the PawSox clinched the International League wild card spot with a rain-delayed 10-4 win over the Rochester Red Wings Sunday night in front of 9,443 fans at McCoy Stadium.
The middle innings of the game were played under a steady rain, and the contest was delayed for 2 hours and 28 minutes in the bottom of the seventh inning with two outs. Reliever Drake Britton recorded the final out at 12:01 am and set off a celebration behind the pitchers mound.
Pawtucket (79-64) clinched its fourth-consecutive playoff berth, extending the longest postseason streak in franchise history. The PawSox will take on North Division-champion Syracuse in a best-of-five playoff series beginning with game one on Wednesday night at McCoy Stadium.
After Owens (3-1) allowed three runs in the top of the third to put Rochester in front 3-1, Pawtucket went to work with two outs in the bottom of the frame against Red Wings starter Jose Berrios (0-1). Five straight batters recorded singles during the rally, including a game-tying RBI single by Garin Cecchini and a go-ahead RBI hit by Alex Hassan.
The PawSox batted around and collected three hits and two walks during its five-run fourth. Berrios was pulled with two on and no outs, and reliever Logan Darnell permitted each inherited runner to score and three more of his own. Following a bases loaded walk to Bryce Brentz, Ryan Lavarnway's two-run single made the score 7-3.
Stephen Pryor, the third pitcher of the fourth inning, entered with two outs and allowed a two-run single to Hassan to put Pawtucket in front by six runs. Owens took over from there, limiting the Red Wings to a total of three hits in six innings of work. Eric Farris' solo home run in the fifth (4) provided Rochester with its final run of the night.
Hassan went 3-for-3 with a walk, three RBI and two runs scored to pace Pawtucket's 13-hit attack. Lavarnway also drove home three tallies as part of a 2-for-5 night. Newcomer Ivan DeJesus, Jr. collected an RBI single in the seventh inning right before the rains came to finish the scoring for the night.
The final game of the regular season will be on Monday afternoon with first pitch scheduled for 1:05. Pawtucket manager Kevin Boles has yet to announce his starting pitcher, while the Red Wings are slated to throw lefty Kris Johnson (9-7, 3.57).
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 12:50 pm.