(Pawtucket, RI) - Led by starter Justin Haley, the Pawtucket Red Sox dealt a one-hit shutout in a 4-0 victory on Sunday afternoon at McCoy Stadium that cemented a sweep of the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders and a 6-1 homestand to close out July.
Pawtucket claimed its first nine-inning one-hitter since May 27, 2009 at Louisville.
The RailRiders (67-41), who still hold the best record in Triple-A despite the sweep, suffered only their second sweep of the season. (Also done on April 22-24 at Syracuse.) Scranton dropped three games in a row for the first time since June 4-6.
The PawSox (57-52) earned the sweep with two shutouts sandwiched around last night's offensive attack. Pawtucket has not allowed a run in three of its last five games.
"[Our pitching] has been great, especially since the lineups we're facing right now are some of the best in the league." said manager Kevin Boles. "We're not fearing contact at this point and pitching aggressively with our fastball."
Haley (5-3) tossed six innings, allowing the lone hit and three walks. He struck out four in his first scoreless outing in Triple-A.
"He had a sneaky fastball and there have been a lot of late swings on that," said Boles.
Pete Kozma led off the third inning with an infield single for the RailRiders' only hit of the game. Second baseman Mike Miller had to range far into the hole to grab the groundball and his throw to first base pulled Chris Marrero just off the bag.
Following that play, Haley retired 11 of the next 12 batters he faced.
"My slider was probably my best pitch today and we had a lost of success with it," said Haley. "I was focused on getting ahead on hitters and this was a good outing to build on."
Casey Janssen pitched two perfect innings in relief and Heath Hembree pitched a 1-2-3 ninth. Hembree closed out each of the three shutouts this week.
Pawtucket scored its first run against Scranton starter Luis Cessa (5-3) in the fourth inning.
Rusney Castillo led off the frame with a single, advanced all the way to third base on an errant pickoff throw from Cessa and scored on Marco Hernandez' sacrifice fly to right field.
In the next inning, Christian Vazquez looped a single into right field and scored on Jantzen Witte's double up the gap in right center field, extending the lead to 2-0. Witte has doubled in five of his last six games.
In the sixth inning, the PawSox grouped together three straight singles culminating in an RBI hit to center field for Chris Marrero. Brennan Boesch added a sacrifice fly to make it a 4-0 advantage.
Pawtucket's 6-1 homestand was its best homestand (of at least five games) since August 2013.
"We took care of the baseball on defense and swung the bats well against tough pitching," said Boles.
After an off day tomorrow (the first since the All-Star Break), the PawSox head on the road for a brief three-game trip against the Rochester Red Wings beginning at 7:05 p.m. on Tuesday. Pawtucket lefthander Henry Owens (6-5, 4.17) is scheduled to take the mound against newly-acquired Rochester lefthander Adalberto Mejia (4-1, 4.20 in Pacific Coast League). Radio coverage on WHJJ (920 AM) and throughout the PawSox radio network begins at 6:35 p.m.
The PawSox return home on Friday for a six-game homestand against the Buffalo Bisons and Durham Bulls. The first two games of the homestand both feature post-game fireworks shows. Good seats for each game are still available at the McCoy Stadium box office; call (401) 724-7300 or visit pawsox.com to get your tickets today.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.