While last week wasn’t the first time the Worcester Red Sox traveled to play the Buffalo Bisons, it was the first time they headed to upstate New York to do so as the Bisons have recently returned to Sahlen Field with the Toronto Blue Jays vacating the park to once again call the Rogers Centre home. The WooSox seemed to really like Sahlen Field as they kicked off their week-long visit there Tuesday with a 4-2 win.
Worcester took a 2-0 lead in the top of third on a Jarren Duran RBI double and an RBI on a fielder’s choice by Franchy Cordero. In the top of the fifth, a Yairo Munoz sacrifice fly and Connor Wong RBI single made it a four run lead. Buffalo got two of those runs back off WooSox starter Raynel Espinal in the home half of the fifth, both unearned, but he was able to get out of the frame and leave the game with the lead, earning his ninth win of the season. Kaleb Ort pitched the ninth for his 14th save.
Wednesday was all about the longball as the two squads combined for five home runs, but luckily for Worcester fans, the WooSox had four of them in a 9-4 victory. The ball was flying out of the park right from the get-go, with Yairo Munoz, Joey Meneses, and Connor Wong all going yard in the top of the first. A Munoz RBI single in the second then made it 4-0. Buffalo got a run back in the home half on, guess what, a solo home run, but the WooSox regained the four run cushion on Munoz’s second solo homer in the next inning. The Bison grabbed a run in their half to make it 6-2.
In the sixth frame, Connor Wong doubled in a run and Jeter Downs knocked in a run with a fielder’s choice. Meneses’s second homer of the game in the eighth made it 8-2, and Buffalo grabbed a couple more runs for the final. Kyle Hart improved his record to 5-7 with a five-inning start, allowing two runs. Austin Brice struck out three in two innings, and after a tough frame from Jose Adames, Phillips Valdez pitched a relatively uneventful ninth.
Early on it looked like Thursday’s contest was going to be a laugher, but it ended up being much closer than it needed to be with the WooSox holding on for an 8-5 win. Worcester once again got going very quickly, scoring a run on a ground-rule double by Joey Meneses. The next batter was Johan Mieses, who crushed a ball that cleared everything in left field to make it 4-0. But starter Daniel Gossett couldn’t hold that lead, and it was tied after two innings.
A Jeter Downs RBI double in the third gave the WooSox the lead back, and in the fifth Mieses launched another over the left-field wall to make it 6-4. A sixth frame Yairo Munoz RBI single increased the lead, and in the ninth Mieses added on another RBI single. Kaleb Ort allowed an unearned run in the ninth for the 8-5 final. John Schreiber earned the win with three scoreless frames in relief.
Pitching was the story on Friday as Kutter Crawford, Seth Blair, and Alex Claudio held the Bisons to two hits in Worcester’s 4-1 win over Buffalo. Crawford was perfect through five before allowing a single to open the sixth frame. The WooSox lost the shutout when that runner scored on a throwing error. Josh Ockimey’s three-run shot gave Worcester the lead in the top of the sixth, and a Connor Wong seventh-inning solo shot was their fourth run. Claudio allowed a hit in the ninth but earned his first career AAA save on a game-ending double-play ball.
The WooSox pitching was not quite as good on Saturday, twice losing multi-run leads, but the batters kept giving their team the lead and the third time it stuck as Worcester went on to win 7-6. In the top of the first, both Joey Meneses and Josh Ockimey ripped RBI singles with two on. Jeter Downs made it 3-0 with a sacrifice fly. In the fourth, a Chris Herrmann solo shot made it a four-run lead, but starter Connor Seabold couldn’t get out of the home half of the fifth as Buffalo came back to tie it.
The sixth inning saw Jack Lopez earn an RBI the hard way as he was plunked by a pitch with the bases loaded, and Downs added his second sac fly of the game in the seventh to make it 6-4. This time it was Zack Kelly who couldn’t hold the lead as he gave up two on the bottom of the seventh to make it 6-6. In the eighth Delino DeShields walked and Lopez skyed one over the right fielder to give the WooSox the lead once again. This time the lead held, with Brandon Brennan and Kaleb Ort blanking the Bisons over the final two innings.
Worcester went for the series sweep on Sunday and took a big lead early, but once again the pitching staff faltered and this time the bats couldn’t get them back in the game as the WooSox took a 9-5 loss. After the Bisons grabbed a lead after one inning Worcester came roaring back in the second by putting up a five-spot. With the bases loaded Connor Wong launched a double that scored three, and then he scored on a double by Joey Meneses. Josh Ockimey’s double scored Meneses and made it 5-1.
That was all the scoring for Worcester and many nights that would be enough, but with Alex Claudio, Eduard Bazardo, and Jose Adames all giving up crooked number frames five runs just wasn’t going to get the job done. It didn’t help that the WooSox bats were a pretty pitiful 3-14 with runners in scoring position.
210Sports’ WooSox of the week
Pitcher: Kutter Crawford is this week’s winner, allowing just one hit and an unearned run in six innings while striking out eight. He threw 75 pitches, 53 for strikes.
Batter: Connor Wong gets the nod this week, going 8-19 with two doubles and two home runs in four games. He also scored three runs and knocked in seven.
Last week’s transactions
*Monday, August 23: Boston optioned Jonathan Arauz to Worcester.
*Tuesday, August 24: Boston recalled Tanner Houck from Worcester and optioned Jarren Duran to Worcester. Worcester sent Jeremy Rivera to Portland.
*Thursday, August 26: Boston recalled Jarren Duran from Worcester and transferred the rehab assignment of Danny Santana to Worcester.
*Friday, August 27: Boston recalled Jonathan Arauz and selected Yairo Munoz from Worcester. Worcester activated Chris Herrmann from the IL.
*Saturday, August 28: Boston signed Michael Feliz to a minor league contract and assigned him to Worcester.
*Sunday, August 29: Boston transferred the rehab assignment of Eduard Bazardo to Worcester. Worcester added Jeremy Rivera from Portland.
This week’s schedule
at Rochester Red Wings (Washington)
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