It was back home to Polar Park for the Worcester Red Sox last week as they took on Buffalo Bisons looking to get back on track after what has been a not-so-great month of July. They got an extra day off as rain once again fell on Tuesday, with the postponed game being rescheduled for Thursday.
That extra day of rest didn’t turn out to help the WooSox at all as they were defeated 5-1 on Wednesday. Hirokazu Sawamura got the one-inning start as part of his rehab assignment from Boston and needed just 13 pitches to retire the side, striking out a batter. Kutter Crawford took over and went six innings, and while he’s listed as the losing pitcher he didn’t pitch badly, allowing three runs while striking out five.
The problem was the bats for Worcester, who managed only three hits against five different Buffalo pitchers. The WooSox only run came in the eighth frame when Jeremy Rivera grounded into a fielder’s choice to score Tate Matheny.
Thursday’s game one was about as well as a team can play as theWooSox came out on top 7-0. Austin Brice, Marcus Walden, John Schreiber, and Kaleb Ort combined for the three-hit shutout and eight strikeouts. Worcester’s offense started fast in the first inning, with Yairo Munoz and Marcus Wilson each doubling to make it 1-0. The Bison’s shortstop then made a bad throw on a Michael Gettys grounder with Wilson racing home for another run. Tate Matheny followed with double and Jett Bandy crushed a three-run shot off the batter’s eye to make the score 5-0.
In the third Matheny doubled in another run, and in the sixth Bandy launched his second homer of the day, this one to left, for the 7-0 final.
Game two was the mirror opposite, with Buffalo putting up a couple of crooked number innings to hand the WooSox an 8-1 loss. Connor Seabold fell to 0-2 with the defeat, allowing four runs and eight hits over five innings, including two home runs. Matt Hall had a terrible seventh inning, walking two and allowing four runs. A sixth-inning homer by Michael Gettys was Worcester’s only offense.
The weather on Friday was just about as good for baseball as you can get, and the WooSox took advantage and beat Buffalo 6-2. Worcester got two runs quickly when Yairo Munoz doubled and two batters later Jeter Downs crushed one over the Table Talk sign in left to make it 2-0 after one inning. The Bison got two in the fourth to tie it, but in the home half, the WooSox took control putting up a four-spot in the frame.
With two on Jeremy Rivera doubled to right to score a run, and Yairo Munoz followed with an infield hit to score another. After a pitching change and a walk loaded the bases Jeter Downs doubled to right-center to drive in two more. Worcester got into a little trouble in the ninth, but Kaleb Ort got a lazy fly ball out with the bases loaded to earn a save. Raynel Espinal earned his eighth win of the campaign going five frames, allowing just two runs while striking out six.
Saturday will forever be referred to as “Sale Day” in the annals of WooSox history as Boston Red Sox ace Chris Sale made a rehab start at Polar Park in front of a crowd that was significantly more than the listed sell-out of 9,508, where they all saw Worcester come out on top 4-2. Sale struck out seven and allowed five hits in five innings, earning his first-ever minor league win. He threw 81 pitches, 51 for strikes, and with the exception of back-to-back fourth inning doubles by the Bison was never in any trouble.
Sale also gave up a towering fly ball to center in that fourth frame, but centerfielder Tate Matheny made a leaping catch to rob Buffalo of a home run. Sale celebrated the circus catch by thrusting both arms over his head. Matheny wasn’t done in the frame though, and crushed a two-run shot to give Worcetser the 3-1 lead.
Marwin Gonzalez, who is also on a rehab stint from Boston, gave the WooSox a 1-0 lead with a solo shot to right in the bottom of the first. Jeter Downs homer to left in the fifth capped the scoring for Worcester. Durbin Feltman earned his first AAA save with two innings of scoreless relief.
Sunday was the usual matinee, and Worcester avoided the hangover from Saturday’s festivities and came out on top 8-1. Buffalo played some Bad News Bears defense in the first inning that led to three WooSox runs. Jhonny Pereda knocked in the first one with a sacrifice fly to right, and then a Tate Matheney double brought in another run. Later, a fielding error allowed Josh Ockimey home to score to make it a 3-0 lead. In the next frame, Jeremy Rivera doubled in another run.
In the fifth Josh Ockimey homered, and in the seventh, the WooSox got another run off an error and another on Pereda’s second sac-fly of the game.
John Schreiber got the start and went 3.1 innings, striking out four and not allowing a run. Marcus Walden got the win in relief.
210Sports’ WooSox of the week
Pitcher: Chris Sale gets the nod this week, mostly because many fans clamored for me to do so.
Batter: Michael Gettys is this week’s winner, going 6-14 with a double and a home run in six games. He also walked four times and scored three runs.
Last week’s transactions
Tuesday, July 27: Boston placed Hirokazu Sawamura on a rehab assignment in Worcester. Worcester assigned Enmanuel De Jesus to Portland.
Thursday, July 29: Boston optioned Tanner Houck to Worcester. Worcester promoted Ryan Fitzgerald, Jhonny Pereda, and Zack Kelly from Portland.
Friday, July 30: Boston traded Michael Chavis to Pittsburgh, recalled Jonathan Arauz from Worcester, activated Hirokazu Sawamura from Worcester, and placed Marwin Gonzalez on a rehab assignment in Worcester. Worcester Worcester transferred Caleb Simpson to the 60-day IL.
Saturday, July 31: Boston optioned Connor Wong to Worcester and transferred the rehab assignment of Chris Sale to Worcester.
This week’s schedule
at Scranton/Wilkes-Barre (NY Yankees)
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