Rehabbing Red Sox starter Drew Pomeranz dealt three innings, Sam Travis homered and the Pawtucket Red Sox bullpen steered the squad to a 4-2 win over the Triple-A affiliate of the Yankees on Saturday night in front of a crowd of more than 7,000 at McCoy Stadium.
The PawSox (41-45), who had lost eight of their previous 10 games entering Saturday's action, scored a run in four of the first five innings and used six effective innings from the bullpen to level the three-game series with the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders (45-41) at a game apiece.
In his second rehab start of the week, Pomeranz tossed three innings of one-run ball, scattering five hits (all singles), walking two and fanning one. The 2016 National League All-Star didn't allow much hard contact (three of the five hits were either bloop singles or infield singles) and used double plays to finish his second and third innings.
"The first time all the hard hits were only home runs. Tonight it was a couple groundballs and a couple flares," Pomeranz said. "One of the groundballs I should've caught. The two flares were just broken-bat, whatever. Got a lot of good groundballs, some double-play balls."
The 29-year old left-hander, who landed on Boston's disabled list June 5 (retroactive to June 2) with left biceps tendinitis, worked at 89-91 MPH with his fastball (touched 92) and leaned heavily on a crisp knuckle-curveball. After his outing, Pomeranz threw an additional 10-12 pitches on the side (after requesting and receiving permission to do so).
"I mixed it up a little more this time," Pomeranz said. "I was more working on stuff last time, just trying to work on certain pitches. This time I worked on mixing it up a little bit. I struggled a little bit with my timing out of the stretch but felt good out of the wind-up and picking my leg up out of the stretch. But that's part of this process of getting back, getting my timing back."
Pawtucket southpaw Josh D. Smith (W, 5-3) yielded a run over three innings and fanned four, while Bobby Poyner (2 IP, 1 H, 3 K) and All-Star closer Ryan Brasier (S, 13) combined on three scoreless innings to button up the victory.
PawSox All-Star center fielder Rusney Castillo (3-for-3, R, 2B, RBI) broke the 100-hit plateau for the season, extending his International League-leading total to 101. Leadoff man and shortstop Tzu-Wei Lin (2-for-4, R) recorded his 22nd multi-hit game of the season and is now 8-for-21 since his option from the Red Sox.
RailRiders starter Josh Rogers (L, 6-6) ceded four runs (two earned) on six hits and a walk in 4.2 innings.
The PawSox grabbed a run in the home half of the first inning, as Castillo doubled and scored when designated hitter Mike Ohlman smacked a ball to left field, where Scranton made an error.
The RailRiders leveled the score, 1-1, in the top of the second on an RBI infield single that deflected off Pomeranz's glove.
In the third, Castillo supplied a firm sacrifice fly to right field to plate right fielder Aneury Tavarez and push Pawtucket back in front, 2-1.
Travis kicked off the fourth inning by yanking a solo homer into the left-field bullpen - his sixth big fly of the season.
Pawtucket stretched its lead to 4-1 in the bottom of the fifth inning on a sacrifice fly from first baseman Adam Lind.
The RailRiders grabbed a run back in the sixth inning when a miscommunication in Pawtucket's outfield allowed a routine flyball to drop in and make it a 4-2 game.
The PawSox conclude their three-game series with the Yankees' Triple-A affiliate Sunday at McCoy Stadium at 1:35 p.m. PawSox right-hander William Cuevas (5-5, 3.65) is scheduled to oppose RailRiders lefty Justus Sheffield (2-3, 2.61). The game will be televised live on myRITV, and radio coverage on WHJJ (920 AM and 104.7 FM) and throughout the PawSox Radio Network begins with the pre-game show at 1:05 p.m.