ALLENTOWN, PA (WPRI) – The Pawtucket Red Sox offense erupted early and the pitching staff held on late on Friday night in Allentown, and the PawSox eked out a 10-8 win. Sean Coyle and Bryce Brentz notched their first big flies of 2015, Keith Couch settled down to earn his first regular-season-AAA win and the PawSox posted their second win in as many nights to open the 2015 season.
For most of the night, it looked like Couch and the PawSox (2-0) would cruise to another victory. For the second straight night, they jumped out to an early lead – this time on Sean Coyle’s second-inning homer to left field.
In the bottom half of the frame with one out, Couch yielded a double to IronPigs’ catcher Rene Garcia. Couch then retired Edgar Duran but surrendered Lehigh Valley’s first run on a Darin Mastroianni single. Cord Phelps then belted a two-run homer to right that gave the IronPigs (0-2) their first – and only – lead of the night.
After a Russ Canzler leadoff single in the third, Couch locked in – and the PawSox began to display exceptional defense. Deven Marrero, Coyle and Travis Shaw turned a nifty double play to retire Canzler and Jordan Danks. Those would be the first two of the eleven consecutive outs Couch recorded to close his outing.
Bryce Brentz tied the game leading off the fourth with a homer to right field. And in the fifth, Pawtucket exploded and put the game away. A leadoff single by Jackie Bradley, Jr. set the table; after Rusney Castillo grounded out, Bradley moved to third on a wild pitch and scored on a Shaw single. Brentz singled, Garin Cecchini doubled to score Shaw and Quintin Berry plated Brentz with a sacrifice fly to left that made it 6-3. Berry – making his 2015 Pawtucket debut – also singled, walked twice and scored a run.
The PawSox tacked on a pair of runs in both the seventh and eighth innings. Marrero ripped a two-run double to the left-centerfield gap that scored Shaw and Brentz, who reached base three times and has been aboard after seven of his ten plate appearances to begin the season. In the visiting half of the eighth, Rusney Castillo just missed a homer to left, but his two-run double plated Humberto Quintero and Bradley, Jr. to stretch the PawSox’ lead to seven.
The Pigs scored two runs in the bottom half of the eighth; Maikel Franco doubled to begin the inning and scored on a Danks single. Brian Bogusevic grounded into a fielder’s choice, moved to third on a Chris McGuinness double and scored on a wild pitch by Miguel Celestino.
Celestino got the final out of the eighth, but opened the door to trouble in the ninth. After two walks and a hit scored a run, Celestino was lifted for Zeke Spruill. Danks greeted Spruill with a two-run single that pulled the ‘Pigs to within two at 10-8 and put the tying runs on base. After Brian Bogusevic fouled out, McGuiness walked to load the bases. Spruill then induced a groundout from Rene Garcia to earn his first save and send the PawSox home a winner.
Game three of the four-game series is scheduled for Saturday night with first pitch at 6:35 P.M. PawSox lefthander Henry Owens makes his first start of 2015 and will be opposed by lefty Severino Gonzalez, who will make his AAA debut. Radio coverage on 920 AM (WHJJ), the PawSox Radio Network and streaming begins at 6:35.
After the seven-game roadtrip the PawSox come home for the 2015 season opener on Thursday, April 16 at McCoy Stadium. Good seats are still available at the McCoy Stadium box office; call (401) 724-7300 or visit pawsox.com.