Pawtucket, RI - Scranton/Wilkes-Barre looked as if their one game lead in the International League North was going to evaporate into a tie atop the division with the Pawtucket Red Sox. The Paw Sox took a 4-2 lead to the bottom of the seventh inning before three unearned runs gave the Yankees a 5-4 come from behind win and a two game division lead.
For the fourth consecutive game, Pawtucket jumped out of Scranton/Wilkes-Barre scoring the game's first run. Tony Thomas drew a one out walk off Yankees starter Justin Thomas, stole second base and came home to score on a two out single to center by Dan Butler giving the Paw Sox a 1-0 lead.
The Yankees had an answer for the Red Sox run in the top half of the inning with a single tally of their own in the bottom half of the frame. Melky Mesa hammered his third homer of the season a solo shot over the wall in left center off Pawtucket starter Tony Pena, Jr. that tied the game at 1-1.
The Paw Sox broke the tie off Thomas and the Yankees in the top of the third and then added to the lead in the top of the fifth inning with two more runs. Thomas had not allowed a homerun in 47.2 innings of pitching before giving up a one out homer to J.C. Linares to left field to break the 1-1 tie. In the fifth Andy LaRoche struck again. His third homer of the series (Grand Slam on Tuesday, three-run HR on Wednesday), a two run shot with two out in the fifth extended the Red Sox lead to 4-1.
Thomas pitched a season high 5.0 innings on the night allowing four runs on seven hits. The left hander walked two and struck out six, throwing a season high 85 pitches. Pena was done after walking back to back hitters with two out in the bottom of the fourth inning. He allowed three hits and gave up one run with four walks and three strikeouts.
The Scranton/Wilkes-Barre comeback began with a single run in the sixth inning off reliever Alex Wilson. Brandon Laird doubled into the right field corner and scored the Yankees second run of the night on Austin Romine's single to center. SWB picked up three in the bottom of the seventh and got a lot of help from Pawtucket to grab a 5-4 lead. Daniel Bard entered the game and walked Chris Dickerson to lead off the inning. Corban Joseph's comebacker was thrown in the dirt at second by Bard and the error cost Pawtucket the first out of the inning. After Dickerson was caught in a rundown off second and Eduardo Nunez fouled out to the catcher it looked as if the rally was going to end. The inning was extended when Bard hit Laird in the helmet with a pitched ball and walked Romine to load the bases. Darnell McDonald's grounder was kicked by Jose Iglesias scoring a run to make it 4-3. Mesa added to his RBI total with a single to center scoring pinch runner Kevin Russo and Romine for a 5-4 lead.
Chase Whitley picked up his ninth win of the season with two scoreless innings in relief of Thomas and Ryota Igarashi notched his eighth save of the year with a scoreless eighth and ninth as the Yankees picked up the come from behind win. Bard took the loss allowing the three unearned runs in the seventh inning, his only inning of work.
The two teams wrap up the series on Friday night at McCoy Stadium in the final game of the Yankees "home" series against the Red Sox. Scranton/Wilkes-Barre will send right hander Adam Warren (6-8, 3.77) to the mound for his 24th start of the season. Pawtucket will also throw a right hander with Zach Stewart (3-3, 3.69) making his 10th start of the year.