Gwinnett Scores Six Runs in Eighth Inning, Defeats PawSox
LAWRENCEVILLE, Georgia - Despite big nights from a pair of Georgia natives, the Pawtucket Red Sox dropped their series opener to the Gwinnett Stripers, 7-4, on Friday night at Coolray Field.
The PawSox (45-51) carried a 4-1 lead into the bottom of the eighth inning, but Gwinnett (45-53) sent 11 batters to the plate in the frame and pushed across a half-dozen runs to claim the opener of the three-game series.
Pawtucket left fielder Kyle Wren (2-for-4, 2 2B, 3 RBI) - a Peachtree City, Georgia, native, Georgia Tech product and former Braves draftee - started the scoring with a two-run double in the second inning and ripped another RBI two-bagger in the eighth. Wren, the son of Red Sox executive and former Braves general manager Frank Wren and the older brother of Red Sox 2017 draftee Jordan Wren, joined the PawSox on the Fourth of July.
Three-time MLB All-Star Brandon Phillips - a Stone Mountain, Georgia, native who currently lives in Buckhead in Atlanta - returned to the Peach State and went 2-for-4 with two runs scored and a double in his sixth game with Pawtucket. Since joining the squad on Saturday from Short-Season Lowell, Phillips has started six of the team's seven games.
Making his first Triple-A appearance since the Fourth of July, Pawtucket starter Jalen Beeks punched out seven in 4.2 scoreless innings in which he ceded four hits, walked two and used 96 pitches. Reliever Fernando Rodriguez Jr. turned in a second consecutive effective two-inning outing. Southpaw Robby Scott (L, 1-1) yielded four runs in one-third of an inning, and right-hander Trevor Kelley gave up two runs as he closed out the eighth inning.
Pawtucket second baseman Tony Renda (2-for-5) has now recorded 19 hits in his first nine games with the club since his promotion from Double-A Portland. First baseman Mike Ohlman (2-for-4, R) aided Pawtucket's 10-hit effort.
Gwinnett righty Touki Toussaint made his second career Triple-A start and impressed with eight strikeouts and 5.2 innings of three-run work. Relievers Miguel Socolovich (W, 2-3) and Jacob Webb (S, 6) helped secure the win.
In the top of the second inning, Wren cracked a two-run, opposite-field double to left field to prop up Pawtucket to a 2-0 lead.
An inning later, center fielder Rusney Castillo ripped an RBI double to left field to score shortstop Iván De Jesús Jr. and extend the lead to 3-0.
Gwinnett inched onto the scoreboard in the bottom of the sixth inning after a leadoff single and Pawtucket error produced a run.
Pawtucket grabbed the run back, 4-1, in the top of the eighth when Wren yanked an RBI double down the right-field line.
But in the bottom half of the inning, Gwinnett surged in front. With the bases loaded and nobody out, Gwinnett center fielder Lane Adams nubbed a two-run single just past the first-base bag. Two batters later, No. 8 hitter Alex Jackson sliced a two-run triple off the warning track. Designated hitter Jonathan Morales then blooped an RBI single to right field, and No. 3 hitter Austin Riley later tacked on an RBI single of his own to make it 7-4.
The PawSox continue their weekend series against Gwinnett on Saturday at 6:05 p.m. PawSox right-hander Chandler Shepherd (4-7, 4.02) is scheduled to oppose Stripers righty Lucas Sims (4-2, 2.15). Radio coverage on WHJJ (920 AM and 104.7 FM) and throughout the PawSox Radio Network begins with PawSox Insider at 4:35 p.m.
After the seven-game road trip, the PawSox will return home July 24-29 (Tuesday-Sunday) to square off with the Columbus Clippers (Cleveland Indians) and Knights. Good tickets 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.
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