PAWTUCKET – Not even the nifty baserunning maneuver that Ryan Lavarnway pulled off the eighth inning could yield a smile on the face of PawSox manager Arnie Beyeler.
Truth be told, Lavarnway’s ability to avoid the tag while sliding into second base represented the lone highlight in Pawtucket’s 7-2 loss to Louisville Sunday afternoon. The power-hitting catcher had his eyes on second base after lining a bullet down the left field line. The throw from Bats leftfielder Felix Perez was there with plenty of time to spare, but Lavarnway was able to dance around the tag and get a hand on the bag.
“If that’s all you get out of today’s game, then you need to do better than that,” said Beyeler after Pawtucket fell into a flat-footed tie with Gwinnett for the wild-card lead.
It was a game the PawSox (60-49) would soon rather forget. The Bats (58-52) pounded out 17 hits, seven of them going for extra bases. Former Red Sox outfielder Jeremy Hermida blasted a solo home run in the seventh inning, No. 11 on the season.
Louisville starter Daryl Thompson picked up where he left off when he faced Pawtucket last month, allowing one run on four hits in 6 2/3 innings with seven strikeouts and three walks. In his previous start against Pawtucket, Thompson permitted two runs in 7 1/3 frames.
“He’s a guy who’s had our number,” noted Beyeler.
Louisville certainly had Tony Pena Jr.’s number. The PawSox starter fell to 7-5 after getting tagged for four runs on nine hits in five innings. The Bats placed the lead runner on base in four of the five innings Pena Jr. was out there. Lavarnway, Hector Luna and Nate Spears all recorded two-hit games for the PawSox, who finished with seven hits.
Kyle Weiland is still a starting pitcher – at least for now. The righthander will make his second start since rejoining the PawSox Monday night, continuing a season-long trend of taking the ball once every fifth day.
There had been whispers that Weiland would be relocated to the bullpen, which figures to be his best path to help Boston down the stretch, especially after Boston added starter Erik Bedard Sunday. For now, though, the Notre Dame product is only concerned about the task at hand, which is facing Louisville.
“They won’t tell me until something happens and that’s the way it is for everybody,” said Weiland when broached about possibly switching to a relief role. “Lord knows we won’t know something until we’re called upon to fulfill a role and help out the big club. It’s something you need to be prepared for everyday.”
Weiland has logged just 19 innings in three starts since July 10. The reduced workload had more to do with the nature of way things broke while with Boston rather than the Red Sox easing up and giving the 24-year-old an in-season break.
“As a whole I’ve lost a little bit of feel for some of the off-speed [pitches]. Every pitcher goes through it during the season. It’s just a matter of how quickly you can get it back,” Weiland said.
Weiland was lined up to make his first relief appearance since 2008 – the same year Boston selected him in the third round – against Seattle last Sunday, “but that game got a little out of control for a second.” For now, that moment represents Weiland’s closest brush to working out of the bullpen.
EXTRA BASES: Infielder Jed Lowrie, on the disabled list since June 17 with a mild shoulder strain, is expected to begin a rehab assignment with Pawtucket Monday night. The plan is for Lowrie to start at shortstop tonight, play Tuesday and again on Thursday and Friday. … Supercuts stylists will be at McCoy Stadium Monday night from 5:30-8:30 to cut hair with the proceeds going to the PawSox Charitable Foundation. It will take place at the Paws Pavilion, located along the third-base concourse. … The PawSox turned three double plays Sunday, giving them a league-best 121 on the season.
Louisville 110 201 101 – 7-17-0
Pawtucket 100 000 010 – 2-7-1
Daryl Thompson, Nick Christiani (7), Jeremy Horst (8) and Corky Miller. Tony Pena Jr., Clevelan Santeliz (6), Royce Ring (8), Jason Rice (9) and Ryan Lavarnway. 2B: Mike Costanzo 2, Danny Dorn 2, Felix Perez; Ryan Lavarnway. HR: Jeremy Hermida.
WP: Thompson (3-1). LP: Pena Jr. (7-5). Time: 3:04. Attendance: 7,003.