Haley Steers PawSox to 7-3 Win over Syracuse
PAWTUCKET, R.I. - Pawtucket Red Sox starter Justin Haley struck out a season-high nine batters, and Aneury Tavarez socked a home run, as the PawSox kicked off the unofficial second half of the season with a 7-3 win over the Syracuse Chiefs on Thursday night at McCoy Stadium.
The PawSox (42-46) found some breathing room in the sixth, seventh and eighth innings to extend a 3-2 cushion into a four-run margin en route to a victory over Syracuse (37-52) in the opener of the four-game weekend series. The eventful weekend continues Friday with Red Sox left-hander Drew Pomeranz slated for a rehab start, coupled with a G.O.A.T. bobblehead (of a future Hall of Fame quarterback) giveaway for the first 3,000 fans in attendance.
Haley (W, 5-7) punched out nine in 5.2 innings of two-run work and carried his elevated velocity into his sixth inning, where he recorded his final strikeout on a 93 MPH fastball on his 102nd pitch. Right-handed reliever Josh A. Smith recorded the final out in the sixth, and fellow righty Ty Buttrey (S, 1) earned a five-out save and lowered his ERA to a sparkling 1.93.
Pawtucket second baseman Tony Renda, who was promoted earlier in the day from Double-A Portland, went 2-for-4 and scored a pair of runs. First baseman Mike Ohlman (2-for-4, RBI) and shortstop Mike Miller (2-for-4) also notched multi-hit efforts.
Syracuse starter Phillips Valdez (L, 3-6) ceded four runs (three earned) over 5.2 innings.
Pawtucket climbed out to a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the second inning when left fielder Sam Travis, who was hit by a pitch earlier in the frame, scored from third on a wild pitch.
The Chiefs leveled the score, 1-1, in the third inning when right fielder Jaff Decker doubled and scored on a sacrifice fly.
The PawSox surged back ahead in the home half of the third. After catcher Dan Butler coaxed a leadoff walk, Butler scored when Renda rolled an infield single toward third and prompted an errant throw from Syracuse third baseman Drew Ward. Renda moved all the way to third himself and then scored - extending the lead to 3-1 - when Ohlman singled against Syracuse's drawn-in defense.
In the fourth, Syracuse first baseman Jose Marmolejos led off with a solo homer to trim the gap to 3-2.
Pawtucket grabbed a run back in the bottom of the sixth inning when third baseman Mike Olt was hit by a pitch and scored on a wild pitch.
In the seventh, pinch-hitter Cole Sturgeon grounded into a fielder's choice that allowed Renda to score from third and make it 5-2.
An inning later, Tavarez hammered a two-out, two-run homer to the right-center bleachers - his sixth long ball of the season - with an exit velocity of 101 MPH.
The PawSox continue their four-game weekend series against Syracuse at McCoy Stadium on Friday at 7:05 p.m. Rehabbing Red Sox left-hander Drew Pomeranz (0-1, 7.20) is scheduled to oppose Syracuse lefty Tommy Milone (5-4, 4.47). The game will be televised live on YurView on COX and Spectrum 3, and radio coverage on WHJJ (920 AM and 104.7 FM) and throughout the PawSox Radio Network begins with the pre-game show at 6:35 p.m.
The four-game series at McCoy Stadium runs through Sunday. 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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