Warm weather returning to New England normally means good baseball, hits, and entertainment at the ballpark. The Pawtucket Red Sox provided that on Friday night, routing the Gwinnett Braves 10-1. When the series resumed for a double header on Saturday afternoon and evening, more fireworks were promised. Unfortunately for the gathered fans, most of the fireworks were saved for a fancy display after the game. There was still excellent baseball to be enjoyed.
The Braves and Paw Sox played two seven inning games and watched the pitchers write the stories for most of the afternoon. The first game featured starters Andrew Albers and Shawn Haviland. Albers dealt for 5 and 2/3 innings before being lifted in the sixth for David Petersen. The former Minnesota Twin pitched well, holding Pawtucket to one run and only allowing 6 hits in his time on the hill. That one Paw Sox run came in the third inning when Ryan Court doubled and Deven Marrero hit a sacrifice fly to left field. After that, Albers and Petersen shut down the Paw Sox attack.
Gwinnett’s offense did not fare much better. Shawn Haviland pitched the whole game, only allowing four hits in seven innings of work while striking out seven. Unfortunately, his hits hurt more. Sean Kazmar singled in the first and scored on a double by Mel Rojas Jr. After Pawtucket tied the game, Rio Ruiz blasted a home run to right field and gave Gwinnett the final margin of victory, 2-1.
The second game was even more of a pitchers duel. The game was a makeup of a previous rainout that was supposed to be played in Lawrenceville, Georgia, so Gwinnett was the home team for the game. Enderson Franco and Marcus Walden started for Gwinnett and Pawtucket respectively. They each pitched five innings, allowing 3 hits and no runs. Walden struck out 8 and Franco K’d seven.
The game stayed scoreless into the 6th, when Gwinnett struck. Mel Rojas Jr. reached base on a fielder’s choice. He came home to score on a double by Matt Tuiasosopo that landed after confusion about who was supposed to catch the ball between Allen Craig and Ryan Court.
Pawtucket fought back. In the top of the 7th, Jantzen Witte reached on a single, moved to second on a wild pitch, and scored on a single by Dan Butler. Extra innings ensued and the bullpens dueled until the bottom of the ninth. In that inning, Rio Ruiz hit his second homer of the doubleheader, a 2 run homer to right field, to end the game.
Brock Holt played in the first game, going 1-3 with a single in his second game on his rehab assignment.
The teams will finish the series with a 9 inning game at McCoy tomorrow. First pitch is at 1:35.