PAWTUCKET, R.I. - Rafael Devers and Christian Vazquez both helped key a three-run first inning, and the Pawtucket Red Sox never trailed in a 5-3 win over the Lehigh Valley IronPigs on Wednesday night at McCoy Stadium.
Up 3-0 after the first inning, the PawSox twice held off the IronPigs in one-run spots to win the middle game and level the three-game series at a game apiece.
Devers batted second in the order and played five innings at third base without being tested defensively. The 21-year-old went 1-for-3 with a first-inning double and a run scored. Now in the midst of his third stint on Boston's disabled list, Devers hadn't played since August 15. With the Red Sox before returning to the disabled list, Devers had reached base safely in 11 straight games with an .838 OPS over that span.
"Impressive. He hit the double to center field," Pawtucket manager Kevin Boles said. "The encouraging thing, he said he felt good after the game. He wasn't challenged at third base."
Playing for a third straight night (these last two with Pawtucket), Vazquez batted third for Pawtucket and served as the designated hitter, going 2-for-4 with a pair of singles and an RBI. Vazquez started the scoring in a three-run first inning by fisting an RBI single into shallow right field. In the seventh, he pulled another knock into left field.
"Vazquez said he felt great afterwards," Boles said. "Had a couple knocks. He looked good. As long as these guys are feeling good."
PawSox starter Mike Shawaryn (W, 3-1), meanwhile, stormed through six great innings of one-hit ball in which he fanned four and only surrendered a two-run homer. His battery-mate, catcher Dan Butler, went 3-for-4 with a solo homer to highlight the offense.
"Good night at the plate, three hits," Boles said of Butler. "I thought he did a great job catching tonight. Showed feel with the glove also. Did a nice job handling the stuff. I thought his trips were well-timed. He swung the bat well tonight. So it was a good night for him."
Lehigh Valley starter Enyel De Los Santos (L, 10-5) ceded four runs on eight hits and two walks in 4.2 innings.
Pawtucket left-hander Robby Scott (S, 3) earned the save in the ninth.
With one out and nobody on in the first inning, Devers ripped a double to center field on a 3-1 pitch. Vazquez then fisted an RBI single just out of the reach of Lehigh Valley's first baseman to plate Devers and give Pawtucket a 1-0 lead. After Phillips doubled, Vazquez later scored on an RBI groundout. Two batters later, Pawtucket first baseman Josh Ockimey pulled an RBI single into right field to make it 3-0.
Lehigh Valley recorded its first hit in the top of the fourth inning when left fielder Dylan Cozens socked a two-run homer to right with an exit velocity of 112 MPH.
An inning later, Pawtucket center fielder Rusney Castillo and left fielder Tony Renda strung together back-to-back doubles to extend the lead to 4-2.
In the seventh, Cozens then mashed a solo shot that traveled 435 feet with an exit velocity of 113 MPH to pull Lehigh Valley within one.
The PawSox conclude their three-game series against the IronPigs on Thursday at 7:05 p.m. Pawtucket right-hander Justin Haley (6-8, 3.89) is scheduled to start opposite IronPigs righty Jerad Eickhoff (0-0, 1.32). Radio coverage on WHJJ (920 AM and 104.7 FM) and throughout the PawSox Radio Network begins with the pre-game show at 6:35 p.m.
The three-game series at McCoy Stadium runs Tuesday-Thursday (August 28-30) with all three games at 7:05 p.m. Good tickets are available, and fans can visit the McCoy Stadium box office, which is open Monday-Friday from 10 a.m. through 5 p.m., and during all home games. Fans can also call (401) 724-7300 or log on to PawSox.com for tickets.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.