PAWTUCKET – The Pawtucket Red Sox keep finding ways to win games, even as their 24-man playing roster is adjusted seemingly every day according to organizational needs.
On Friday night, Pawtucket gained a split of its four-game series with Columbus as new addition Greg Smith hurled one-run baseball over seven innings during a 7-1 victory. Smith had been released by Scranton/Wilkes-Barre last week after compiling a 3-3 mark in 13 games for the Yankees.
The PawSox scored three runs in both the second and fourth innings to build an early 6-0 lead. They took advantage of two mistakes by Columbus starter Mitch Talbot to pad their lead.
In the second inning, Hector Luna led off with a double and came home on Brett Carroll’s two-base hit for a 1-0 lead. Luis Exposito walked before Talbot got the first two outs of the inning. Talbot then balked, moving Carroll and Exposito up one base and into scoring position for Nate Spears, who promptly singled them both in for a 3-0 lead.
In the fourth, Jose Iglesias reached base on an error by third baseman Jared Goedert. Che-Hsuan Lin doubled him in. After Spears grounded out, Daniel Nava walked and Lars Anderson reached on an infield single, scoring Lin. Nava also scored on the play when Talbot threw the ball away.
Columbus broke through for a run in the top of the seventh and gave it back in the bottom of the inning on another error by Goedert and a run-scoring single by Luna.
Smith left after seven innings. The veteran lefty, who has pitched for three big league teams, needed just 84 pitches. He allowed six hits and walked none.
Newcomer Will Middlebrooks, just up from Portland, went 0-for-4 at the plate with three strikeouts while serving as the DH. The young third baseman played for Portland in Reading, Pa. on Thursday night, then bused home to Portland, got a phone call at 10 on Friday morning telling him he had been promoted, and drove five hours to Pawtucket, arriving at 5 p.m. At least he didn't have to play third base!
Columbus, which leads the I.L. West by 14 games, made four errors on the night. The PawSox, who lead the I.L. North by one game over Lehigh Valley, played flawless ball in the field.
Pawtucket will face Syracuse around 4:30 p.m. this afternoon at Fenway Park in the annual Futures Day event that also brings Class AA Portland to the big stage for a 1 p.m. game. Pawtucket and Syracuse then meet again at 1:05 p.m. on Sunday back at McCoy Stadium.