PAWTUCKET â€” On a Tuesday night when Brandon Snyder crushed two dingers and righthander Rubby De La Rosa assembled a mound masterpiece, the Pawtucket Red Soxâ€™s bullpen collapsed.
The result: An emotionally-draining â€“ not to mention truly sad â€“ 7-5 loss to the Rochester Red Wings before a bummed crowd of 3,070 at McCoy Stadium.
De La Rosa had been hurling a gem, yielding only three hits, an earned run and a walk while fanning seven.
He seemed destined to push his record to 2-0 after offering 89 pitches, 53 for strikes in his six-inning stint. But the Red Wings exploded for six runs in the top of the seventh while sending 12 to the plate and improved to 10-8 on their International League-North campaign.
Pawtucket fell to 11-9, though remained in first place.
In that fateful frame, manager Kevin Boles chose to replace De La Rosa with fellow righty Dalier Hinojosa, and the Red Wings took little time in creating their surge.
See RED WINGS, page B3
Wilkin Ramirez stung a triple off the wall in right-center, and Brad Nelson walked before the former raced home on a wild pitch and the latter took second on the same.
Chris Rahl then hammered a double to right to plate Nelson, and Eric Farris reached on Snyderâ€™s fielding miscue at first. Delbinson Romeroâ€™s hit to right scored Rahl, but Shane Victorinoâ€™s bobble in right allowed both he and Farris to move up.
Lefty Rich Hill took Hinojosaâ€™s spot on the rubber, and he issued a freebie to Dan Rohlfing to load the bases, though he whiffed Danny Santana for the initial out. He walked James Beresford to plate Farris to tie it at 5-5, and Chris Parmelee knocked in pinch-runner Doug Bernier with the go-ahead run.
When Rohlfing raced in on Nelsonâ€™s infield hit, the Wings had erased a 5-1 deficit.
Boles nevertheless didnâ€™t dwell on any negatives but one real positive â€“ De La Rosaâ€™s improvement.
â€śHeâ€™s had some very good outings, and this was right (up) there,â€ť Boles stated afterward. â€śHe had a good mix, he pitched down in the zone, held together the running game; he has weapons, and heâ€™s throwing more strikes. You could see with the hitters, he was keeping them off-balance.
â€śTo be able to make those adjustments is great,â€ť he added. â€śHe mixes in the slider and curve; he was outstanding (Tuesday).â€ť
In what may be rehabbing Shane Victorinoâ€™s final tilt with the PawSox, he finished 0-for-4 with three strikeouts, a groundout to short and an error during his eight frames in right field.
He did, however, drill a couple of long foul balls.
When asked if he could be called up to the Red Sox soon, Boles explained, â€śHeâ€™s going to be evaluated in Boston and see what the decide â€¦Usually timing is the last thing to come, but he was tested out there in right. To see him react the way he did was good. The hitting, heâ€™ll figure that out, but he was tested out there. Thatâ€™s a positive.â€ť
Boles opted to pull Victorino in the top of the eighth, but that was because the turf had become slick with the late-evening rains.
â€śWe erred on he side of caution,â€ť he said.
Hinojosa faced only five batters and yielded three hits, five runs (four earned) and a walk without a whiff; he offered 18 pitches, half for strikes. And Hill gave up two hits, an unearned run and two bases-on-balls while striking out three in one full frame.
Yovan Pino (3-0) earned the win after hurling the final four frames; he gave up three hits, two runs and a walk with nine strikeouts.
Hinojosa (0-1) took the loss, and Hill was issued his lone blown save.
While De La Rosa cruised through his first two frames, courtesy of four straight whiffs while striking out the side in the second, Pawtucket gave him a cushion in the back half.
Snyder led off the frame, crushing a 2-0 fastball just over the fence and onto the left-center field berm to record his third bomb of the season.
Southpaw starter Logan Darnell then fanned Christian Vazquez, but Garin Cecchini singled to center, then stole second before hustling to third on a fielding miscue by second baseman James Beresford.
It was ruled on the play that backstop Rohlfingâ€™s throw had caromed off Beresfordâ€™s left shoulder, and Cecchini trotted in on designated hitter Dan Butlerâ€™s sacrifice fly to right.
The ensuing batter, Mike McCoy, then walked, and Darnell balked him to second before he got No. 9 hitter Heiker Meneses to flail at strike 3.
The Red Wings immediately sliced the deficit in half in the third when Farris led off with a hard hit up the middle, took second when De La Rosa hit Romero, reached third on Rohlfingâ€™s 5-4 fielderâ€™s choice and scored on Santanaâ€™s â€śseeing-eyeâ€ť grounder down the left-field line.
It looked as if the Sox would put together a semblance of a rally in the fourth; thatâ€™s when Vazquez drilled a one-out gapper to left-center, but Farris sprinted to his right and made a spectacular diving catch.
Darnell struck out Cecchini to end the inning.
Rochester threatened again in the fifth when Farris knocked a one-out hit to right, robbed second and took third when catcher Vazquez threw low to the bag, but De La Rosa whiffed both Romero and Rohlfing to avert any further damage.
The PawSox tacked on another in the bottom of the fifth, but it couldâ€™ve been more. Butler drew a leadoff walk, McCoy singled him to second and both moved up on Menesesâ€™ sacrifice bunt.
Justin Henry grounded to Darnell for the second out, but that brought rehabbing Shane Victorino (who previously had struck out twice, the first on an iffy call by home plate umpire Brian DeBrauwere) to the plate.
Incredibly, Darnell balked for the second time, plating Butler and pushing McCoy to third. Victorino did produce a solid at-bat with a rope foul ball into the left-field stands and two others, but he ended up grounding to short.
Still, the hosts had grabbed an important insurance run.
Thanks to Snyderâ€™s second wallop well onto the right-field porch, one that greeted righty reliever Yohan Pino after he had walked the leadoff Butler, Pawtucket had earned a 5-1 lead.
Then came the disastrous seventh.