SYRACUSE, N.Y. - Two hours before the first pitch of his first Triple-A game, Rafael Devers strolled into the first-base dugout, draped his arms over the railing and looked out onto the field, taking in his new surroundings with a precocious comfort.
Five hours later, he'd contributed all over the diamond and left onlookers impressed with a marvelous all-around effort. The 20-year old prospect, who became the third-youngest position player ever to appear for the PawSox, went 4-for-4 with a double and a homer and powered the PawSox to a 7-4 win over the Syracuse Chiefs on Saturday night at NBT Bank Stadium.
The PawSox (47-44) broke open a 2-1 game with a five-run eighth inning and held on to top the Chiefs (32-58) for their third win in as many meetings to begin the four-game series.
Devers, who was promoted from Double-A Portland on Friday and is ranked as the No. 6 overall prospect per Baseball America, started his night in the second inning with a hard-hit single through the hole on the left side. Three innings later, he pulled a leadoff single into right field. In the sixth, he smoked a double on one hop off the right-field wall, but he saved his best swing for the eighth. With Pawtucket up 3-1 and a man aboard, Syracuse elected to go to the bullpen for 10-year MLB veteran Neal Cotts for a lefty-lefty matchup. Devers responded by yanking a two-run blast off the right-field light tower. Then in the bottom half of the inning, he charged a slow roller near the mound and made a perfect barehanded play to first as his cap flew off.
Devers and the PawSox tallied 14 hits and supported starter Jalen Beeks (W, 3-3), who spun six innings of one-run ball with six strikeouts and only one walk.
Syracuse starter A.J. Cole (L, 4-4) surrendered two runs on hits in six innings with six punchouts.
Syracuse grabbed its first lead of the series in the fifth when designated hitter Jhonatan Solano delivered an RBI single to make it 1-0.
In the sixth, Pawtucket first baseman Matt Dominguez tagged a two-run, two-out single up the middle to score Devers and designated hitter Bryce Brentz and push the PawSox in front, 2-1.
Pawtucket initially erupted in the eighth when left fielder Ryan Court snuck an RBI double down the right-field line and Devers homered. Catcher Dan Butler then connected on an RBI double to deep center, and right fielder Aneury Tavarez slapped an RBI base knock to left to make it 7-1.
Syracuse nabbed a pair of runs in the eighth and a run in the ninth, but the PawSox hung on.
The PawSox conclude their four-game series in Syracuse on Sunday at 1:05 p.m. PawSox right-hander Marcus Walden (7-3, 3.31) is scheduled to oppose Chiefs righty Jaron Long (1-3, 4.66). Radio coverage on WHJJ (920 AM) and throughout the PawSox Radio Network begins with the PawSox Pre-Game Show at 12:35 p.m.
The PawSox return home Monday and remain at McCoy Stadium for a seven-game homestand through July 23. 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.