Game over: PawSox 7, Knights 2: The Pawtucket Red Sox pick up their first win in a Governors’ Cup game since their game five title clincher in 1984. Steven Wright was spectacular, calming down very nicely after getting hit hard in the first inning. The long ball backed him nicely as well with Valencia’s two-run third inning homer setting the tone and Thomas and Linares’ seventh inning back-to-back effort sealing the deal. Zach Stewart gets the ball in game two for Pawtucket tomorrow at McCoy Stadium with a 7:05p.m. start time. With Rienzo forced into action in game one, Charlotte’s game two starter is currently TBA.
Top 9th, Knights 2, PawSox 7: Josh Fields on the hill to try and close out game one for the PawSox.
Thompson misses a 94 mile-per-hour fastball for strike three. Mitchell with a high fly out to Linares in left. Sanchez walks to extend the Knights lifeline for at least another batter. Short strikes out to end game one.
Bottom 8th, Knights 2, PawSox 7: Butler draws a leadoff walk, his second free pass of the game. Repko grounds to the pitcher whose only play was to first, so Butler advances to second. Hee Ks for the second time tonight. Spears flies out to shallow center to end the eighth.
Top 8th, Knights 2, PawSox 7: Alex Wilson on in relief for the PawSox.
Wright's line - 7 IP, 6 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 6 Ks, 107 pitches/61 strikes
Morel grounds to second for the 12th straight Knights out. Wilson makes it a bakers dozen with an off-speed strikeout of Loman. And Phegley hits a broken bat pop-up to short for the fourth straight 1-2-3 inning.
Bottom 7th, Knights 2, PawSox 7: Ryan Kussmaul enters the game in place of Rienzo for Charlotte. Rienzo put in a solid effort on very short notice. He went 5 2/3 and allowed three earned runs and struck out seven.
Hee lines out to centerfield to start the inning. Spears hits a slow roller that third baseman Morel tries to field barehanded, but is unable to come up cleanly with the ball. It's Spears' second single of the night. Thomas launches a two-run home run to left field and Linares lines a solo shot on the very next pitch to make it 7-2 in favor of Pawtucket. The ball has flown out of the yard in the direction of the PawSox bullpen tonight. That is the insurance that Pawtucket desperately wanted.
Valencia strikes out swinging. LaRoche looked as if he would end an inning for the fourth time tonight, but Sanchez throws wide at first to keep the inning going. Brentz grounds to second to end the inning, but the damage is done.
Top 7th, Knights 2, PawSox 4: Short lifts one to dead center for the first out of the inning. Golson Ks for the second time tonight and is thrown out at first after Butler dropped the pitch. Garcia grounds out to short for another 1-2-3 inning. Wright has retired eleven Knights in a row.
Bottom 6th, Knights 2, PawSox 4: Brentz leads off an inning for the third time tonight and draws a walk after running the count full. Rienzo was a lot more careful with the red hot Brentz in this at-bat.
Butler then wastes no time in grounding into a 6-4-3 double play. Repko sends a long drive to the wall in left-center that Mitchell was able to catch up to to end the inning.
Top 6th, Knights 2, PawSox 4: Thompson, for his second straight at-bat, grounds out to Valencia at third base. Mitchell lines one to Repko in center who takes one step to his right and one step back to make the catch. Sanchez grounds back to Wright for out number three and the second straight 1-2-3 for Pawtucket.
Wright looks very comfortable now. Maybe he was waiting for things to dip into the 50s? Regardless he is handling this Knights lineup very well right now and working quickly, which is more important for those of us who lived through that long first inning.
Bottom 5th, Knights 2, PawSox 4: Spears strikes out for the second time, but a wild pitch allows him to reach first to lead things off. Thomas lofts an easy fly ball to right for the first out. Linares Ks for the second out. He is Rienzo's sixth strikeout victim on the night. Valencia walks to put two on with two out, but LaRoche grounds out to third to end an inning for the third time tonight.
Top 5th, Knights 2, PawSox 4: Wright gets Morel by way of strikeout for the second time tonight, Loman grounds out to Spears at second and Phegley hits a warning-track shot to Linares to end the inning. It is the second 1-2-3 of the game fore Wright.
Bottom 4th, Knights 2, PawSox 4: Bryce Brentz continues his hot streak, pounding a leadoff triple out of the reach of Short in right field. It's his sixth extra-base hit of the postseason, second tonight.
Butler strikes out on a check swing that the fans did not seem to agree with...neither did Butler who was slow back to the dugout. Four Ks for Rienzo.
Repko grounds to third and Bryce breaks home. The throw comes to the plate but Brentz's slide knocks it lose from Phegley's glove and the run counts.
The inning ends on a stike-out-throw-out double play as Hee goes down swinging and Repko gets gunned down at second.
Top 4th, Knights 2, PawSox 3: Jared Mitchell gets an opposite field, lead off double. It's the Knights first extra base hit of the Knight. Sanchez moves him over with a sac-bunt that was handled cleanly by Butler.
Brandon Short hits a solid single up the middle, scoring Mitchell and pulling Charlotte within one. Wright almost gets Short napping at first base on a pick off.
Wright blows his 86 mile-per-hour heater past Golson looking for out two. A passed ball moves Short to second, but Wright makes a great snag on a comebacker from Garcia to end the inning.
Bottom 3rd, Knights 1, PawSox 3: Spears becomes Rienzo's third strikeout victim of the night. Thomas with a hiiiiiiiiigh fly ball that is caught right behind the second base bag for out number two. Linares hits a hard grounder into the hole that shortstop Sanchez makes a great diving play on, but he knew he had no play and held on to it.
Danny Valencia cranks a two-run jack over everything and into the parking lot - his second straight game with a long ball - collecting Linares in the process to give Pawtucket a two-run lead.
LaRoche ends the inning with a deep flyout to the track in center field.
Top 3rd, Knights 1, PawSox 1: Garcia with a grounder right to
LaRoche for an unassisted out at first. Wright Ks Morel for out number two, and his third strikeout of the game. A walk to Loman ends a streak of six straight retired by Wright. Phegley takes the first pitch he sees to center field on a rope for his second single of the night. But Thompson grounds out to third to end the Knights two-out rally.
Bottom 2nd, Knights 1, PawSox 1: Bryce Brentz takes a 2-1 offering right down the third base line for a very solidly hit double. His seventh hit of the postseason and fourth extra-base hit. Brentz is on fire at the right time.
Dan Butler runs the count full before drawing a walk from Rienzo to put PawSox on first and second without an out. Jason Repko swings at a bad third strike for the first out of the inning. Jon Hee grounds into a 4-6-3 double play, despite Carlos Sanchez almost messing up on the turn. Only fifteen minutes to play the second inning!
Top 2nd, Knights 1, PawSox 1: Wright gets Carlos Sanchez to swing and miss on a 2-2 knuckle ball for the first out of the inning and his first strikeout. Then Brandon Sheet goes down swinging and Golson flies out to center for a quick half inning to make up for the first.
Bottom 1st, Knights 1, PawSox 1: Nate Spears pushes a leadoff single through the right side of the infield. Tony Thomas follows that with a single that drops in front of Mitchell in left. Two on and no outs for Pawtucket.
Linares chops a slow grounder to first base and is tagged out by Seth Loman who in the process ran into pitcher Charlie Leesman who was coming over to try and make a play. Leesman stays down on the ground, holding his left knee in pain. Replays show that it may have been a knee-on-knee hit. Leesman is up after a couple of minutes, but is being helped off the field and is not putting much weight on the left leg. A very tough break for the Knights to lose Leesman just three batters into the game.
In for the Knights is Andre Rienzo, a 6-foot 3-inch right-hander who was scheduled to start game two for Charlotte.
Valencia battles Rienzo and after fouling off five pitches he lifts one deep enough to right field to score Spears on the sac fly, tying the game at one.
Andy LaRoche strikes out to end a very interesting first inning that took over half an hour to complete.
Top 1st, Knights 1, PawSox 0: The first pitch from Wright is a 76-mile-per hour knuckle ball, inside on Greg Golson for ball one at 7:06 p.m. The temperature at game time was 64 degrees.
Golson smacks one right back up the box, through the infield for a leadoff single, then advances on a passed ball on the first pitch to Drew Garcia.
Garcia lines a shot right at Danny Valencia at third base for the first out.
Brett Morel finds the hole between third and short, putting runners at the corners with one out.
Seth Morel laces a lined shot out to J.C. Linares in left field for out number two, but in the process scores Golson who tagged from third. Josh Phegley rips a solid single to centerfield to put runners on first and second with two outs. The Knights batters are getting very solid wood on Wright's knuckler so far tonight. Pitching coach Rich Sauveur makes a visit to try and calm Wright.
Trayce Thompson walks and the Knights get a bases loaded situation. Jared Mitchell flies out to Linares to end the inning and squash a very viable threat.
Pregame ceremonies - The PawSox welcomed thirteen local police and fire department color guards onto the field prior to the game to bear the flags. Sgt. Shane Brodeur from the RI National Guard threw out the ceremonial first pitch. Michael Khouri from Barrington, Rhode Island sang the National Anthem in a Paul Simon-esque acoustic way. It's almost game time here at McCoy.
Pregame: We have something to play for at McCoy Stadium in Pawtucket tonight as the PawSox host game one of the best-of-five Governors' Cup Series against the Charlotte Knights. Steven Wright, who came to the PawSox from the Indians organization back on July 31st in exchange for Lars Anderson, gets the start tonight. He will be opposed by lefty Charlie Leesman who is ranked by MLB.com as the third best prospect in the White Sox organization, and best pitcher. The Knights also boast the White Sox best positional prospect in outfielder Trayce Thompson who has belted 24 home runs this season, but none since being called up to Charlotte late in the season. It’s going to be a crisp, fall-like evening here in Rhode Island, but we’ll keep the fire going on the live blog this evening, so please follow along and feel free to leave comments.
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