Yastrzemski sparks win in Norfolk debut

No. 20 Baltimore prospect triples in tying run, scores winner in eighth

Mike Yastrzemski batted .268 in 33 games to start the 2016 season with Double-A Bowie. (Patrick Cavey/MiLB.com)

By Tyler Maun / MiLB.com | May 17, 2016 1:57 AM

A little over an hour from his hometown of Andover, Massachusetts and with a name on the back of his jersey that carries legendary status in the region, Mike Yastrzemski came through in a big way Monday night -- for the opposing side.

In his first taste of International League play, Baltimore's No. 20 prospect tripled in the tying run and scored the eventual game-winner in the top of the eighth inning as Triple-A Norfolk rallied to sink Pawtucket, 3-1, at McCoy Stadium.

Yastrzemski was summoned to Norfolk after starting his season batting .268/.361/.449 over 33 games in his third tour through Double-A Bowie, and almost immediately, the 25-year-old made his presence felt. Yastrzemski bounced a single to right field in his second trip to the plate for his first Triple-A knock.

The center fielder came up biggest in his last at-bat of the night. With the Tides trailing by a run and Xavier Avery at first, Yastrzemski laced a triple to center to plate Avery. Two batters later, the grandson of Red Sox Hall of Famer Carl Yastrzemski scored on Dariel Alvarez's two-out homer to give Norfolk the lead for good.

Norfolk wasn't able to get any offensive footing early facing rehabbing Boston right-hander Joe Kelly. On the 15-day disabled list due to a shoulder impingement he suffered on April 20, Kelly struck out 10 over 6 1/3 shutout innings, scattering five hits and a walk.

"You can tell that he's more comfortable," Pawtucket manager Kevin Boles said of Kelly to the Providence Journal. "He's letting the ball go. Early on, the first couple of outings, it looked like he was feeling his way through.

"He threw a couple good breaking balls. The slider was sharp tonight. It just looked like he had better overall pace and tempo to his delivery."

Kelly threw 58 of 92 pitches for strikes in his third rehab start since the injury. Over those appearances, the righty has pitched 14 1/3 total innings and limited opposing hitters to two runs on 12 hits and three walks while striking out 16.

"When he's on, he's really fun to catch," Red Sox catcher Sandy Leon told the Providence Journal. "Like today, he was throwing everything for a strike and wherever he wanted it."

Tyler Maun is a contributor to MiLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @TylerMaun. This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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