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PAWTUCKET â€“ Do not confuse the red welt on Anthony Ranaudoâ€™s left thigh as a badge of honor. It stung, but not to the point that the Pawtucket Red Sox right-hander could not go back out for the sixth inning Tuesday night.
Alas, manager Kevin Boles elected to err on the side of caution after Ranaudo was struck with a liner to lead off the fourth inning. Ranaudo was cruising along when he took a hard smash off his left leg â€“ at one point he had retired eight straight. He was able to record the out at first base and was given the green light to stay in the game after tossing several pitches under the watchful eyes of Boles and trainer Jon Jochim.
Ranaudo got through the fourth with no issues, retiring the next two Norfolk batters after Francisco Peguero threw him and the PawSox for a scare. Xavier Paul led off the fifth with a double with Ranaudo hitting the next batter to place runners on first and second.
A groundball moved the two runners into scoring position before Alexi Casilla lofted a sacrifice fly for the Tidesâ€™ first run.
All told, Ranaudo allowed one run on two hits with two strikeouts and one walk. The 76 pitches represent the fewest in a start since April 24 against Rochester.
â€śI didnâ€™t even think it was a question that I was coming out. I had a low pitch count so I thought I would be going six, seven innings,â€ť said Ranaudo after improving to 8-4 on the season following Pawtucketâ€™s 16-5 drubbing of Norfolk. â€śWe had a big lead and Bolsey came up to me and said that this is the right thing to do. Itâ€™s just better to rest it. As far as I was concerned it came out of the blue, but itâ€™s managerâ€™s decision and Iâ€™m onboard.â€ť
Ranaudo had to wait a little bit prior to returning to the mound for the fifth. The PawSox scored four times in the fourth.
â€śI was expecting to be tight, but that wasnâ€™t an issue. As the inning went on, I loosened up and actually felt better than the inning before,â€ť said Ranaudo.
It doesnâ€™t appear the bruise Ranaudo sustained will cause him to miss his next start. Thereâ€™s a very strong chance that he could represent the PawSox at next monthâ€™s Triple-A All-Star Game as his 2.54 ERA ranks fourth among International League starting pitchers.
â€śHe got squared up pretty good, but he toughened it out and that was fine,â€ť Boles said. â€śHe gave us five strong innings and we didnâ€™t went him to have to sit down again and have it tightened up. Heâ€™s done some great things year and we donâ€™t want to make a mistake because weâ€™re getting greedy.â€ť
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