PAWTUCKET – The Pawtucket Red Sox's latest acquisition, catcher Ryan Lavarnway, had a strong debut Monday night against the Charlotte Knights. The 23-year-old product out of Double-A Portland had a pair of doubles and also rifled out a base-stealer in the fifth inning.
Unfortunately on this night, his new team couldn't bring home the win.
The Knights converted four-double plays and had a fine effort out of righthander Joe Bisenius to earn a 4-1 victory over the PawSox (32-31) before 2,846 at McCoy Stadium.
The Knights cooled off righty Kyle Weiland, who went into last night's game with a 3-0 record and 1.61 ERA in his last five starts. Weiland lasted 5 1/3 innings, yielding six hits and four earned runs. His most damaging frame came in the sixth where he was tagged for three runs and three hits to give the Knights a 4-0 cushion.
“He did a nice job,” said PawSox manager Arnie Beyeler about Weiland, who dropped to an even 5-5. “He wasn't as sharp tonight as he has been. He got in some more trouble later on...we had some deep counts tonight and he usually doesn't do that. He struggled to put some hitters away, but he worked out of some trouble and other than that last inning, he did a pretty good job.”
The PawSox out-hit the Knights by an 11-8 advantage. But Bisenius, who allowed seven of those knocks, stymied the host, allowing one run over 6 1/3 innings.
“He's a big arm guy that's worked out of the pen the last three years in Double-A and Triple-A,” Beyeler said. “He throws pretty hard and got ahead of our guys tonight. We didn't put very big swings on it and he was able to go deep into the game.”
The Knights, who were coming off a 2-1 setback to the PawSox Sunday night, made it 1-0 in the top of the third when Alejandro DeAza clouted a two-out homer to right-center off of Weiland. Charlotte was then able to put runners on first and second with Jim Gallagher reaching base on a throwing error and Dayan Viciedo singling. The PawSox and Weiland avoided further damage on a groundout by Dallas McPherson.
Derza got his second hit of the game in the fifth inning with a one-out single. But he was caught stealing on a strong play by Lavarnway to shortstop Jose Iglesias, who made a nice tag on a sliding Derza.
In the fateful sixth, Charlotte threatened again, beginning with back-to-back singles from Viciedo and McPherson. The two players advanced a base on a sacrifice bunt from Tyler Flowers. The Knights loaded the bases when Jordan Danks walked and then took a 2-0 advantage on a single by Milledge that went out of the reach of diving first baseman Lars Anderson. The Knights doubled that lead to 4-0 on Andrew Garcia's two-run single off PawSox reliever Matt Fox. Fox struck out the final two batters to prevent any further damage.
With one out, PawSox had their best chance to claw their way back strung together four straight hits in the seventh that started with a double from Lavarnway, his second of the night. Spears followed with a single and Brent Dlugach ended the shutout with an RBI single. The Pawsox loaded the bases with another base hit from Ronald Bermudez. But that was it as Iglesias ended the inning when he hit into the third double play converted by the Knights.
Charlotte would make its fourth twin-killing in the eighth when Dan Nava was caught stealing after a strikeout by Reddick.
“It was good pitching and good defense,” Beyeler said. “That's baseball. Their balls go in a hole and our balls go at people. You have to give them credit. They made the pitches and we left some guys on base.”
EXTRA BASES: With one out in the top of the second, Reddick retrieved a hard hit ball by Danks at the warning track, a 400-foot shot. Reddick bashed into the wall on the catch and had to be tended by medical personnel for nearly five minutes. The inning ended on a double play with third baseman Hector Luna catching a line drive by Milledge and tossing over to first to get Tyler Flowers (walk) out at the bag. Reddick was okay and did stay in the game...Pawtucket traded catcher Mike McKenry on Monday to the Pittsburgh Pirates for a player to be named later or cash considerations. McKenry was batting .274 for the PawSox. In 29 games, he had three home runs and 12 RBI....The PawSox did gain a catcher by adding Lavarnway. He was hitting .284 for the SeaDogs with 14 home runs and 38 RBI in 55 games this season. He tied a Portland franchise record with eight homers in the month of May. Lavarnway (and Anthony Rizzo) was Boston's Minor League Offensive Player of the Year in 2010 when he batted .288 with 22 home runs and 102 RBI....Tonight the PawSox will be celebrating Legends Night. Former Red Sox players Jose Santiago and popular and outspoken hurler Bill Lee will be available for autographs and photos. Lee pitched for the Red Sox from 1969-78 and the Montreal Expos from 1979-82. He owns the club record for most games pitched by a lefthander (321). Santiago starred for the Sox during their pennant-winning '67 Impossible Dream season...The PawSox conclude their four-game series with Charlotte tonight at 7:05. Left-hander Andrew Miller (3-3, 2.54 ERA) is the probable starter for Pawtucket, while the Knights send righty Dylan Axelrod to the mound.
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Joe Bisenius, Greg Infante (9) and Tyler Flowers. Kyle Weiland, Matt Fox (6), Franklin Morales (8), Tony Pena Jr. (8) and Ryan Lavarnway. 2B – P, Josh Reddick, Lavarnway 2, Nate Spears. HR – C, Alejandro DeAza.