Durham’s Dan and Elliot Johnson each homered and drove in three runs as the Bulls out scored the PawSox 10-6 last night at Durham Bulls Athletic Park.
Dan Johnson (3 for 4) hit his two-run homer off PawSox starter Clay Buchholz in the third. Elliot Johnson (no relation, 2 for 3) also hit a two-run shot, off reliever and game loser Edgar Martinez (1-1). It came in the bottom of the seventh when the Bulls scored three times to break open a 5-5 tie.
Twice the PawSox fell behind only to come back and tie the score. But both times the Bulls had answers of their own.
Chris Carter continues his hot streak at the plate for Pawtucket. He went 2 for 3, with a homer and 2 RBIs. He now has a ten game hitting streak.
Sean Danielson found himself in the lead-off spot in place of Jeff Bailey, who was called up to Boston earlier in the day. Danielson took advantage of the opportunity, banging out three hits and driving in a run. Brandon Moss also belted a solo homer for the PawSox. Keith Ginter drove in a PawSox run with a sacrifice fly.
Jed Lowrie made his return to the PawSox line-up, batting third and playing shortstop. He finished his day 1 for 4 with a triple and a run scored.
Justin Ruggiano and Joel Guzman each had two hits and drove in a run for the Bulls. The other Durham RBI’s came courtesy of Fernando Perez and Reid Brigniac.
Buchholz was shaky in his second rehab start with the Pawtucket. He threw 76 pitches over four innings. He gave up three runs on two hits, including a homer. More importantly it appeared his command was off, walking four and throwing a wild pitch. He also struck out five.
Durham starter Chris Mason pitched well but did not earn a decision. He pitched seven innings, giving up three runs on six hits. Kurt Birkins (1-1) picked-up the win in relief.
Before the game the PawSox added OF Bobby Kielty back to their roster. The member of the Red Sox 2007 championship squad had been sidelined since April 19th with a left hand injury, which eventually required surgery. Kietly had been in rehab at Single A Lancaster where he went 2 for 8 with 2 doubles and 3 RBI’s in three games.
Game two of the four game series with the Bulls is tonight (7:05 pm) with RHP David Pauley (6-2, 3.09) starting for Pawtucket against RHP Jeff Niemann (2-1, 1.71) for Durham.
The PawSox are hoping their success at home translates to the road as they open up an 8-game road trip with the first of four games in Durham against the Bulls. RHP Clay Buchholz (0-0, 2.25) vs. RHP Chris Mason (2-5, 4.71)
We have just enough time for a brief preview…
Pawtucket Red Sox (33-22)
The PawSox are coming off a 5-3 homestand, where they finished in second place in the IL North, 1 game behind the Scranton/Wilkes Barre Yankees.
Buchholz makes his second PawSox start tonight. In his first start as part of his rehab with the club Buchholz did not get a decision against the Rochester Red Wings. He threw four innings, yielding one run on three hits. He struck out three and walked two.
The PawSox will be without Jeff Bailey, whose contract was purchsed by the Red Sox after Daisuke Matsuzaka was placed on the 15-day disabled list with a slight shoulder strain.
Durham Bulls (29-25)
The Bulls enter the game in first place in the IL South, 2 1/2 games ahead of Richmond.
Mason will make his 11th start of the season. His last two outings have resulted in no decisions. His last decision came May 15th, a loss to the Toledo Mud Hens. In that game he pitched 5 2/3 innings, giving up six runs on seven hits.
Gordon Edes at the Globe has a report that Jeff Bailey is headed to Baltimore to join the Sox, if needed.
If activated, he may fill in for the ailing Kevin Youkilis, who is suffering with a sore right hand and may need a few days off…
Javon Moran collected four hits, including a homer, as the Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs took out the Indianapolis Indians, 8-5. BOX
The lanky right hander (1-0) had command of all his pitches, throwing six complete innings. He gave up two runs (one earned) on four hits. He struck out four and walked one. He also hit a batter. The two runs off Masterson came on a wild pitch to score Justin Christian in the third and a two out error by Joe Thurston, plating Jason Lane, in the fourth.
“It didn’t take more than an inning or so to see the attraction” said PawSox Manager Ron Johnson of his young starter, “I don’t think we could have scripted this any better for his first Triple A outing.”
“I just wanted to do what I usually do…let my sinker work, get ground balls and let the great infielders I have field the balls” said Masterson. “I pretty much stuck to that game plan and got some ground balls.”
Masterson’s spot in the PawSox’ rotation was moved up two days in anticipation that he may be needed to make a spot start in Boston on Tuesday if Daisuke Matsuzaka is forced to miss his next turn due to shoulder stiffness.
I’m always ready to help out the team” Masterson said, “I’m just going to keep working and get ready for the next start.”
Bailey hit two homers in the game, a two-run shot in the third and a solo homer in the eighth, giving him 16 for the year. His two-homer game was the third during this 8-game home stand. Before his blast in the third Bailey had been hitless in his last ten at bats.
“The last couple of games I wasn’t in a good position to hit” said Bailey . “I got my legs more involved tonight and kept my head still and that’s the key.”
Bailey, who has 13 home runs in the month of May, was not scheduled to be in the line-up but was inserted late as the DH.
“I was excited about getting the night off. I thought I needed the game off” said Bailey, “Whenever that happens and they throw guys in there late they have a good game.”
The PawSox scored in the bottom of the first on Chris Carter’s eighth homer of the season. With the hit Carter has now hit in nine straight games. Their fifth run also came in the eighth on an RBI single by Brandon Moss.
Scranton starter Dan McCutchen (0-2) was ejected with one out in the bottom of the fifth as he threw two consecutive pitches behind Bailey, no doubt in retaliation to Bailey’s homer in the third. Yankee Manager Dave Miley was also ejected for arguing with plate umpire Brian Kennedy.
Hunter Jones came in to relieve Masterson and pitched 2 1/3 innings of scoreless ball. Chris Smith got the final two Yankee outs to secure his fifth save.
The PawSox now embark on an 8-game road trip beginning with the first of four games tomorrow night (7:05 pm) in Durham against the Bulls. Clay Buchholz (0-0, 2.25 ERA) will make his second PawSox start against Chris Mason (2-5, 4.71 ERA) for the Bulls.
NOTES: With the win the PawSox have the best home record in the IL at 21-9. That ties the best home record for the PawSox after 30 games in franchise history. Pawtucket was also 21-9 in the 1977 season. The PawSox will have 16 home games in June opposed to 14 on the road.
The PawSox split their four game set with the Scranton/Wilkes Barre Yankees tonight with a 5-2 win before 5, 160 fans at McCoy.
Justin Masterson earned the win in his PawSox debut. Jeff Bailey hit two homers and drove in three. Chris Carter also homered for Pawtucket.
Complete game report to follow.