SYRACUSE, N.Y. - For the first time when trailing after eight innings, the Pawtucket Red Sox came from behind with a three-run ninth inning to stun the Syracuse Chiefs, 5-3, on Tuesday night at NBT Bank Stadium.
Trailing 3-2 entering the top of the ninth inning, the PawSox (30-32) sent all nine batters to the plate and scored three runs on two hits, an error, a defensive misplay, a wild pitch and three walks to win for the second straight night against the Chiefs (28-34) and ensure a series win ahead of Wednesday's finale. Pawtucket had previously been 0-25 when trailing after eight innings in 2018.
Pawtucket's bullpen sparkled over the final four frames. Right-handed long reliever Fernando Rodriguez Jr. fanned four in two shutout stanzas. Hard-throwing righty Ty Buttrey (W, 1-0), who hasn't allowed an earned run over his last eight outings, then coasted through a 1-2-3 eighth inning that he concluded with a strikeout, lowering his ERA to 2.28. Closer Ryan Brasier (S, 7), who last allowed an earned run exactly one month ago, punched out two in a hitless ninth inning to stamp the victory. The 30-year old right-hander from Texas, who routinely worked at 97-98 MPH, has a 1.74 ERA, the second-lowest ERA among International League relievers (minimum 30 IP).
Pawtucket starter Chandler Shepherd ceded three runs on five hits and a walk over five innings. The 25-year old right-hander, who had posted a 1.79 ERA over his previous seven starts (totaling 40.1 innings) entering Tuesday, gave up three runs on three hits in the first but ended his evening by retiring the final 10 batters he faced.
PawSox center fielder Tzu-Wei Lin (2-for-5, 2B) extended his season-long hitting streak to 14 games. Designated hitter Adam Lind (2-for-4, R, HR, RBI), first baseman Mike Ohlman (2-for-5, R, 2B) and second baseman Ivan De Jesus Jr. (2-for-4, R, 2B) all notched multi-hit nights.
Syracuse starter Tommy Milone scattered seven hits over 6.2 innings of two-run work, adding four strikeouts without a walk. Reliever Jimmy Cordero wobbled in the ninth (L, 2-1) and walked three, ceding three runs (two earned) and only recording one out.
Syracuse struck for three runs in the bottom of the first inning on three hits against Shepherd, as right fielder Moises Sierra, left fielder Jaff Decker and designated hitter Yadiel Hernandez all supplied run-scoring knocks.
The PawSox trimmed the deficit to one, 3-2, in the top of the fourth inning. Lind, who spent the 2017 season with the Nationals, mashed a solo homer to right field - his second with the PawSox - to lead off the frame. With runners at the corners, catcher Óscar Hernández then lifted a sacrifice fly to deep left field to plate Ohlman.
In the top of the ninth, De Jesus led off by soaring a fly ball to deep center, where Syracuse outfielder Andrew Stevenson appeared to momentarily lose sight of the baseball in the twilight sky, allowing De Jesus' ball to reach the wall for a double. Third baseman Mike Olt then coaxed a walk, and Hernández finished off a whale of an at-bat by stroking a single into left field to load the bases. Shortstop Mike Miller then worked a bases-loaded walk to tie the game before Lin rolled a gentle comebacker to the mound. Cordero bobbled the ball, allowing the PawSox to snatch a 4-3 lead. Hernández sprinted home moments later on a wild pitch.
The PawSox conclude their three-game series with Syracuse on Wednesday at 6:35 p.m. Pawtucket left-hander Jalen Beeks (3-3, 2.56) is scheduled to start. Radio coverage on WHJJ (920 AM and 104.7 FM) and throughout the PawSox Radio Network begins with the pre-game show at 6:05 p.m.
The PawSox will return home to McCoy Stadium on June 19-24 (Tuesday-Sunday) for a seven-game homestand against the Buffalo Bisons (Toronto Blue Jays) and Syracuse. Good seats 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.