PAWTUCKET- The PawSox bats were quieted by strong pitching once again, amassing only 3 hits in falling to the Gwinnett Braves 5-0 tonight at McCoy. It’s the first time the PawSox have been shut out this season.
The loss was Pawtucket’s third straight, over which they have scored a total of two runs. Gwinnett has now won four straight.
Braves starter Tommy Hanson (1-3) showed the fans at McCoy why he is considered the top prospect in the Atlanta organization. Hanson allowed only 3 hits over six innings. He walked one and struck out nine.
“That’s the first time I’ve seen him.” said Pawsox Manager Ron Johnson, “I heard the hype. You see why he’s rated where he’s rated.”
The best threat of the night for the PawSox came in the bottom of the first when they loaded the bases with only one out. But Hanson settled down and struck out Dusty Brown and Chip Ambres to get out of the jam.
“When you got someone on the ropes like that, you gotta close the deal” said Johnson, “If they get into that point where they haven’t settled in yet, you’ve got to capitalize.”
Lefty Mariano Gomez pitched three perfect innings in closing out the game for the Braves. The PawSox were held hitless for the last seven innings of the game.
PawSox starter Charlie Zink (0-3) had trouble finding the plate all night. He gave up five runs on nine hits. He walked five, struck out only three, and hit three batters. Zink has hit nine batters so far in 2009. The team record is 11 by Danny Parks in 1981. Zink threw 98 pitches, only 52 for strikes.
“I thought Charlie did a pretty god job” said Johnson, “But going six innings and giving up five (runs), I’m sure Charlie isn’t too pleased with that.”
LH Chris George relieved Zink and pitched three scoreless innings, giving up three hits and striking out three.
Offensively the Braves were led by SS Diory Hernandez, had three hits and drove in two of the Braves runs. LF Brian Barton also had three hits and drove in a run. CF Gregor Bianco added a pair of hits and one RBI.
Game two of the series is tomorrow night (6:15pm) as Michael Bowden (1-0, 0.64 ERA) will return to the PawSox mound. He’ll be opposed by Kris Medlen (2-0, 2.04 ERA) for the Braves.