Big Fifth Inning Dooms PawSox in Finale with Bisons
Despite another multi-hit performance from Iván De Jesús Jr. and sharp relief work from Josh A. Smith, the Pawtucket Red Sox dropped the series finale to the Buffalo Bisons, 8-1, on Thursday afternoon at Coca-Cola Field.
Buffalo (37-35) scored four runs (three unearned) in the bottom of the fifth inning to establish some breathing room and lock up a third win in the four-game series with the PawSox (38-40). Pawtucket was limited to six runs over the four games.
De Jesús went 2-for-4, stole a base and drove in the lone run, continuing a month-long stretch in which he's ascended in the PawSox lineup and raised his OPS to .722 (MLB average is .723). In his 27 games since May 26, De Jesús has posted the second-highest OBP in the International League.
Pawtucket starter Chandler Shepherd logged 4.2 innings and ceded three earned runs (six total) on four hits and two walks to go along with five strikeouts. Right-handed reliever Josh A. Smith recorded four outs all via the strikeout after replacing Shepherd in the home half of the fifth.
In his Triple-A debut, Buffalo starter and former first-round pick Jon Harris fired six steady innings and only allowed an unearned run, fanning four without issuing a walk.
Buffalo grabbed a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the third inning when first baseman and No. 3 hitter Rowdy Tellez pummeled an opposite-field, two-run homer.
The Bisons pushed across four runs in the fifth inning. With the game still 2-0 at the time, Pawtucket nearly tagged out a Buffalo baserunner between second and third in a rundown, but the PawSox were ruled to have just missed the tag. Moments later, a Pawtucket error allowed that runner to score and set the stage for a lengthy half-inning. Later in the inning, Buffalo cleanup man Anthony Alford blooped a two-run single to left field, and second baseman Richard Ureña pulled an RBI base knock into right to stretch the lead to a half-dozen runs.
Pawtucket crept into the run column in the top of the sixth when De Jesús slapped an RBI single down the right-field line, plating shortstop Deiner Lopez.
In the eighth, Buffalo leadoff man Roemon Fields poked a two-run, two-out single to left field to make it 8-1.
The PawSox crack open a three-game weekend series against the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders (New York Yankees) on Friday at 7:05 p.m. Pawtucket left-hander and International League All-Star Jalen Beeks (5-4, 2.40) is the scheduled starter. Radio coverage on WHJJ (920 AM and 104.7 FM) and throughout the PawSox Radio Network begins with the pre-game show at 6:35 p.m.