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ALLENTOWN, Pa. --- For the second night in a row, the Pawtucket Red Sox struggled with runners in scoring position and it proved to be their undoing as they fell to the Lehigh Valley IronPigs 3-2 in 10 innings.
The loss puts the PawSox down two games to none as the International League Semifinal Series shifts back to McCoy Stadium.
Ex-PawSox prospect Brandon Moss had a big night, knocking in all three runs with a homer, double and single in the 10th inning that brought home the game-winner off reliever Randy Williams.
Pawtucket broke out first when they scored a first inning run against Lehigh Valley starter Ryan Edell. Jose Iglesias singled with one out and later scored when Lars Anderson doubled to right to score Iglesias and give Pawtucket a 1-0 lead.
The only real problem that Sox starter Tony Pena Jr. had with Lehigh Valley was Brandon Moss. The â€˜Pigs right fielder hit a solo home run off Pena in the second and an inning later, drove in another run with a double that just missed going out of Coca-Cola Park. Pena lasted 4 2/3 innings and exited with runners on first and second and Moss again coming to the plate.
Hideki Okajima came on with the unenviable task of getting Moss to pop up to Iglesias to end the threat without any damage.
The game changed quickly in the top of the eighth when reliever Phillippe Aumont came on to pitch for Lehigh Valley. Che-Hsuan Lin tapped a grounder down the first base line and Lehigh Valleyâ€™s Tagg Bozied elected to attempt to tag Lin for the out rather than go for the bag. Lin eluded the tag to reach first safely. Aumont then uncorked a wild pitch allowing Lin to move up to second and Iglesias then moved him to third with a bunt back to the mound. Daniel Nava then came up just short of a go-ahead home run to left-center field and had to settle for a ground rule double that sent Lin home with the tying run. Aumont then came back to strike out Anderson and get Luna to ground to first to end the inning, with the score tied 2-2.
Lehigh Valley opened the ninth with Delwyn Young drawing a walk. Josh Barfield then moved him to second with a bunt to give the IronPigs a runner in scoring position with one out. Randy Williams, who had come on in the eighth got Bozied to fly out to right for the second out. Erik Kratz, who homered to help Lehigh Valley win game one, came on to pinch-hit and Williams won the battle, picking up his first strike out of the game to send the game to extra innings.
Unfortunately, Williams didnâ€™t have as much success in the tenth. Freddy Galvis beat out a groundball to second to lead off the inning. Rich Thompson then attempted to bunt Galvis over to second and Williams fielded the ball, but threw high to first base to put runners on first and second with no outs. Scott Podsednik then dropped a bunt to move the runners over. Pawtucket manager Arnie Beyeler then elected to walk Kevin Frandsen intentionally to load the bases and let Williams go after the left-handed hitting Moss, who he had gotten to ground out in the eighth inning.
With both the infield and outfield drawn in, Williams got Moss to chase a pitch in the dirt, but then got burned when Moss roped a groundball through the drawn-in infield to give Lehigh Valley a 3-2 win and a two-game-to-none lead in the best-of-five series.
The series now shifts to McCoy Stadium for game three on Saturday at 6:05 p.m. Alex Wilson (1-0, 3.43) will get the start for Pawtucket and will be opposed by Brian Bass (8-10, 3.81).
Fans attending Saturday nightâ€™s game will be able to have their photo taken with both the 2004 and 2007 World Series Trophies from 6-8 p.m. Sundayâ€™s game â€“ if necessary â€“ will start at 1:05 p.m. and in honor of 9/11, all active military, police and fire employees will receive a free general admission with identification. Sundayâ€™s pitching matchup would be right-hander Charlie Haeger for Pawtucket, with Lehigh Valley putting Scott Mathieson (2-2, 3.28) on the mound to counter.