PAWTUCKET – No one ever wants to leave the friendly confines of home, but the Pawtucket Red Sox are looking to do just that after dropping a 5-2 decision to the Charlotte Knights on Friday night at McCoy Stadium.
It was the team’s seventh loss of an eight game homestand and eleventh loss in their last twelve games, dropping them out of first place for the first time since April 19th following Lehigh Valley’s 6-5 win over Rochester.
In the second inning the Knights turned into the Bad News Bears, which turned into an early 2-0 PawSox lead.
Three straight PawSox singles set the tone, with Alex Hassan plating Mauro Gomez from second to make it 1-0.
Juan Carlos Linares followed the single-fest with a grounder to third that was tailor-made for a double play, but Knights second baseman Drew Garcia fumbled the transfer and only one out was recorded.
Another grounder by Jose Iglesias to third was misplayed by Kyle Stanton, loading the bases for Che-Hsuan Lin who floated a lazy fly ball into shallow left-center field that fell between Tyler Kuhn and Greg Golson, allowing Andy LaRoche to score.
The Knights were able to escape without any more damage, then they began to chip away at the PawSox lead one inning at a time.
Back-to-back doubles by Dan Johnson and Connor Jackson in the top of the third put Charlotte on the board.
Drew Garcia hit a solo home run in the top of the fourth that just cleared the fence in right center, pulling the Knights even at two and in the top of the fifth inning Johnson (2-3, double, HR, two walks, three runs) crushed a 2-2 fastball deep into the night and just like that the Knights had a 3-2 lead.
They would add to that lead when Daniel Bard appeared on the mound in the top of the seventh and proceeded to give up a single, stolen base, sac fly, walk, hit-batter, walk and walk to make it 5-2 before Pedro Ciriaco made a diving play on a ball up the middle to spark a 4-6-3 double play that ended the inning.
Gregory Infante (W, 4-0) held the PawSox at bay, allowing only one hit over the final three innings to shut the door on the night.
The PawSox head out to Allentown, Pennsylvania to try and wrestle back first place from the Lehigh Valley IronPigs in a three-game series, with one game on Saturday and two on Sunday.
NOTES: Scott Podsednik began a 20-day rehab assignment as he works back from a groin strain that landed him on the disabled list on June 18th. He was 0-3 with a walk as the designated hitter before being pulled for Lars Anderson in the ninth inning. Podsednik batted .323 in nine games with the PawSox earlier in the season before getting called up to Boston.
Andy LaRoche was 3-4, with three singles and a run scored in his PawSox debut. LaRoche was briefly a member of the organization back in 2008 when he was part of the three-team Manny Ramirez-Jason Bay trade.
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