Bryce Brentz had an idea what the opposing team's hitters were going through, having to face Steven Wright on Tuesday night. But he didn't have to worry about that.
The Red Sox's No. 4 prospect was 2-for-3 with a run scored and Wright fanned six over seven innings as Triple-A Pawtucket bested Charlotte, 7-2, in the opening game of the Governors' Cup Finals.
Brentz continued his torrid playoff hitting -- tripling, doubling and drawing a walk in his four plate appearances. The 23-year-old outfielder raised his average to .476 in the International League playoffs for the Red Sox.
"Just swinging at good pitches and not trying to do too much," Brentz said. "When I got up here, I was too overaggressive."
Six of the last seven teams to win the first game of the International League Finals have gone on to win the Governors' Cup. The importance of making a strong opening statement wasn't lost on Brentz.
"It's big, especially at home," he said of taking Game 1. "You really want to make the most of opportunities. We have two here and three at Charlotte. If we can snag the next one here, that would be huge."
Wright allowed two runs on six hits to earn the win for the Red Sox. The 28-year-old right-hander was acquired at the trade deadline for Lars Anderson, and he got a chance to square off against Brentz in the Eastern League All-Star game on July 10.
Brentz summed up that at-bat thusly, "I fouled off one pitch and didn't have any luck with the other two." The secret? A knuckleball.
"Steven is a knuckleballer and it was working tonight," Brentz said. "He was keeping the ball down. He was throwing it for strikes. Coming in and doing his thing, tonight it was special."
Danny Valencia homered and drove in three runs for Pawtucket, which earned its first Governors' Cup win since 1984.
"I think every time we've had a big situation come up, he's come through," Brentz said of the third baseman. "He's been putting the team on his back."
Juan Carlos Linares, Boston's No. 18 prospect, homered and scored twice and Tony Thomas added a two-run blast.
Josh Phegley, the White Sox's No. 11 prospect, had a pair of hits for the Knights.