PAWTUCKET, R.I. - Donning sharp new uniforms and caps, Los Osos Polares de Pawtucket stifled the Buffalo Bisons, 3-1, at McCoy Stadium on another brisk night.
In partnership with Minor League Baseball, the PawSox are changing their name for virtually all of their Tuesday home games to celebrate the team's surrounding Hispanic community. And in the first edition of the season, Venezuelan-born starter William Cuevas, Dominican-born reliever Williams Jerez and Cuban-born southpaw Roenis Elias powered Los Osos Polares (which translates to "polar bears" in English) and combined on a four-hit effort to even the three-game series with the Bisons (1-1).
"It was an honor to wear this uniform tonight, and we all felt like it was a very special and important night," Dominican-born PawSox outfielder Aneury Tavarez said to the crowd on the field after the game. "I want to thank all these great fans. It was a fun environment, and we hope you continue to come out."
In his first start since returning to the Red Sox organization after spending 2017 with Detroit and Miami, Cuevas (W, 1-0) logged 6.1 shutout innings of three-hit work with a half-dozen strikeouts. Cuevas sped through four hitless innings on just 50 pitches before he allowed a one-out single in the top of the fifth. Despite further hard contact and runners at the corners in that fifth frame, the 27-year old sidestepped trouble to keep the game scoreless.
"He attacked the zone, fastball command," Pawtucket manager Kevin Boles said. "The pace, especially after last night with a four-hour game, he set the tone, got the defense involved. Just a terrific job. Very uncomfortable swings. Just kept them off balance the whole night."
Jerez took over in the seventh with runners at second and third but escaped trouble with a strikeout and weak groundout to short. The southpaw continued his impressive start to the season with a 1-2-3 eighth inning punctuated by his second strikeout. Jerez, who was added back to Boston's 40-man roster in the offseason, has now retired all nine batters he's faced to begin the season.
"He's around the plate. Definitely the command of the fastball is explosive, you see how the ball comes out of his hand," Boles said. "He's aggressive too. It looks like he's not trying to be too quick with his delivery. It's a couple outings, it's early, but so far, so good. He's been very impressive. He goes right after hitters."
Elias (S, 1) fanned two in the ninth and allowed a run.
Pawtucket designated hitter Mike Olt (2-for-4) singled and doubled in his PawSox debut after being promoted earlier in the day from Double-A Portland. Shortstop Mike Miller (2-for-2, BB) reached base all three trips to the plate.
Buffalo left-handed starter Ryan Borucki (L, 0-1) gave up a pair of runs on six hits and a pair of walks in five innings.
The PawSox loaded the bases in the home half of the fifth with a pair of walks and an infield single. That's when cleanup man Sam Travis scorched a two-run single to center to push Pawtucket ahead 2-0.
Three straight singles loaded the bases again for Pawtucket in the sixth, and center fielder Rusney Castillo lifted a sacrifice fly to the warning track in right field to score third baseman Chad De La Guerra and widen the advantage to 3-0.
The PawSox conclude their three-game series with Buffalo on Wednesday at 12:05 p.m. Pawtucket right-hander Chandler Shepherd (1-5, 4.07 in Pawtucket in 2017) is scheduled to oppose Bisons righty Deck McGuire (10-10, 2.77 in 2017). Radio coverage on WHJJ (920 AM and 104.7 FM) and throughout the PawSox Radio Network begins with the PawSox Pre-Game Show at 11:35 a.m.
The season-opening homestand ends Wednesday. As was the case for Monday's and Tuesday's games, the PawSox Kids Club "Kids Free" Program with CVS Health has expanded to offer all fans free general admission tickets Wednesday.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.