PAWTUCKET — On a cold and damp night, the Pawtucket Red Sox found themselves undone by a pair of defensive shortcomings in a 5-1 loss to Gwinnett.
One was not ruled an error, as centerfielder Josh Reddick dove but could not come up with a sinking line drive off the bat of Gwinnett’s Wilkin Ramirez, who scooted into third base with a triple. The play loomed even larger as the next Braves hitter, Shawn Bowman, sent a chopper to shortstop that Jose Iglesias would have cleanly fielded for the third out in the seventh inning.
Iglesias was in Toronto with the Red Sox on Tuesday night, with Drew Sutton taking his spot at shortstop. Sutton was able to glove the ball in the hole, but his throw was way off target and over the head of first baseman Lars Anderson. Bowman was awarded a single and moved to second on the Sutton throwing error.
The play saw Ramirez score from third, breaking what was a 1-1 tie. Gwinnett would score three more times off the eighth, victimizing Kris Johnson, who allowed all three runs in one-third of an inning. Johnson’s ERA now stands at an unsightly 10.61.
As for the plays that led to the Braves going ahead for good, PawSox manager Arnie Beyeler said, “(Bowman) is out in front and he’s running as he’s swinging the bat. It’s a tough play and the ball’s wet. We also messed up the cutoff throw and allowed a guy [Ramirez] to get to third with an easy triple. With the wind blowing in like it was, I think [Reddick] was breaking across, thinking it was a weak swing. The ball just kept on carrying and just beat him as he broke across.”
Gwinett starter Mike Minor shut down the PawSox, limiting the home team to one run – a solo home run to Tony Thomas leading off the first inning – on four hits in seven innings. The lefty Miller struck out eight while throwing 114 pitches.
“We ran into a pretty good lefthander there,” acknowledged Beyeler.
PawSox starter Matt Fox was removed after providing Beyeler with 4 2/3 innings of one-run ball, throwing 83 pitches. Fox allowed Gwinnett to tie the game at 1-1 in the fifth as Brandon Hicks, a .083 hitter coming into the at-bat, deposited a blast that landed in the parking lot beyond the left field wall.
PawSox managed just five hits, two of them belonging to cleanup hitter Hector Luna. Michael Bowden followed Johnson and delivered a scoreless inning, working around a pair of Gwinnett hits.
EXTRA BASES: Warwick native and current Red Sox reliever Dan Wheeler was spotted in the PawSox weight room, working out under the direction out under the direction of strength & conditioning coach Mike Roose. Wheeler was placed on the 15-day disabled list last Thursday with a calf strain. … Beyeler confirmed that outfielder J.C. Linares underwent surgery on his left foot. Linares, injured on a slide into second base on May 2, was spotted in the clubhouse before the game, sporting a boot and crutches. “He’s pretty sore,” said Beyeler. … The Ponaganset Middle School band performed the national anthem Tuesday.