(Pawtucket, RI) - The Toledo Mud Hens used solid pitching to snap the Pawtucket Red Sox' three-game winning streak in a 3-2 victory on Tuesday night at McCoy Stadium.
Starter Joe Kelly (1-1) allowed three runs, all earned, on six hits in 4.2 innings to begin his second stint with Pawtucket (29-29). The righthander, who took the mound following a 27-minute rain delay, struck out five and walked one.
"His command of the fastball was good, he was getting guys off the plate a little bit," said manager Kevin Boles.
Despite more terrific work from the PawSox bullpen, Pawtucket's bats were not quite able to keep up with Toledo (27-30).
The Mud Hens opened the scoring in the second inning with three straight singles to start the frame against Kelly.
With runners on the corners, Casey McGehee delivered the third of those hits on a groundball through the vacated hole at second base. On the play, second baseman Jose Vinicio was covering second base on an attempted steal and the RBI single brought home the first run of the game.
Toledo took a 2-0 lead when the next batter, Jordany Valdespin, lifted a sacrifice fly into left field.
The PawSox responded in the bottom half of the second as Jantzen Witte blasted a solo home run (2) off Mud Hens starter Matt Crouse (1-0) over the wall in left center field.
Facing a 2-1 deficit, Kelly faced the minimum six batters in the third and fourth innings. He did allow a walk to Chad Huffman to begin the fourth but promptly picked him off first base.
Toledo tacked on a run in the fifth inning.
Jordany Valdespin led off the frame with a single, stole second, advanced to third on John Hicks' single and scored on JaCoby Jones' sacrifice fly into right field.
Kelly's night ended following the sacrifice fly after experiencing "discomfort in his right groin" according to Boles.
Boles said the team was erring on the side of caution and will reevaluate him tomorrow.
Robby Scott entered the game and got Steven Moya to pop out to strand a pair of inherited runners. Scott went on to retire all 10 batters he faced in 3.1 innings of perfect work.
"He has been terrific this year," said Boles. "He's efficient and he did a great job creating a little length."
Pawtucket pulled closer in the seventh inning.
Dan Butler led off with a double, narrowly advanced to third base on a fly ball to right field and scored on Vinicio's opposite field single into left field.
Vinicio has six RBI in his last six games.
Ryan LaMarre followed with a single but the next batter, Justin Maxwell, grounded into a 6-4-3 double play to end the threat.
The PawSox put together another threat in the eighth inning.
Bryce Brentz lined a leadoff double to left field and Chris Marrero followed with a single to right field that put runners on first and third with no outs.
But Brentz was caught in a rundown and tagged out on Chris Dominguez's groundball to third, Witte flied out and Dan Butler was called out on strikes.
Aaron Wilkerson made his first relief appearance of the season and tossed a scoreless ninth.
Mud Hens closer Bruce Rondon struck out three batters in the bottom of the ninth for the save.
Pawtucket's last three losses have all come in one-run contests.
The PawSox continue their four-game series with Toledo tomorrow at 7:05 p.m. Pawtucket righthander William Cuevas (4-2, 2.98) is scheduled to face off with Mud Hens righthander Thad Weber (5-3, 3.15). Radio coverage on WHJJ (920 AM) and throughout the PawSox radio network begins at 6:35 p.m.
Good seats for each remaining game of the seven-game homestand are still available at the McCoy Stadium box office, by calling (401) 724-7300 or by visiting pawsox.com.