FORT MILL, S.C. â€“ Say this about the 2011 Pawtucket Red Sox â€“ this club appears dead serious about making a push for the Governorsâ€™ Cup playoffs.
The PawSox made relative quick work of the host Charlotte Knights Tuesday en route to sweeping both ends of a doubleheader. Pawtucket completed the suspended contest with a 6-1 victory before taking the second game by a 5-1 count.
The pair of wins enabled Pawtucket to sit in first place by 1 Â½ games over Lehigh Valley as the second-place IronPigs battled Norfolk Tuesday.
The doubleheader was necessary after Monday nightâ€™s contest was halted in the top of the third after the field at Knights Stadium was deemed unplayable following an hour-plus rain delay. The game was paused with Pawtucket up 2-1.
Already with one home run in the game, catcher Ryan Lavarnway added a solo blast in the sixth, a homer that enabled him to pass outfielder Josh Reddick for the club lead with 15. Newcomer Brett Carroll slugged his first home run in a PawSox uniform in the eighth after belting 15 for Triple-A Nashville this season. Ryan Kalish made his Pawtucket debut in game one after being sidelined since April 22nd with a shoulder injury. Kalish finished the game going 2-for-4 with a double and walk as the PawSoxâ€™ designated hitter.
Junichi Tazawa made his first appearance in a PawSox uniform in the nearly two years after starter Kyle Weiland was unable to come back after pitching the previous night. The righthanded Tazawa pitched two scoreless innings, giving giving up four hits and striking out four. Scott Atchison (6-1) worked three scoreless innings to pick-up the win. Jason Rice threw the final two innings in scoreless fashion to seal the deal.
The second game saw Pawtucket strike early as Daniel Nava and Lars Anderson hit back-to-back doubles in the first inning. The PawSox added three runs in the fifth on a Nate Spears sacrifice fly and a two-run homer by Nava. Nava drove in his third run on the game on a ground out in the top of the seventh.
Starter Matt Fox retired the first 14 batters he faced on his way to tossing six innings of one-run ball. Fox improved to 7-4 after walking one and striking out eight.
Game three of the four-game series will be Wednesday at 7:15 p.m. Brandon Duckworth (8-6, 3.76 ERA) gets the start for Pawtucket. Dylan Axelrod (3-1, 2.41 ERA) gets the ball for Charlotte.