PAWTUCKET – Alfredo Aceves made a strong statement with his pitching on Thursday.
Taking the mound for the first time in nine days, Aceves spun six shutout innings as Pawtucket belted Durham, 10-1. Though he issued four walks, Aceves allowed just two hits while striking out six. He ended up throwing 101 pitches, 57 of which went for strikes.
“I didn’t know how many pitches I threw,” said Aceves. “Nobody knows how pitches you’re going to throw (in a given outing). It’s unreal.”
The right-hander was complimentary of the offense support he received, as the PawSox registered a season-high in runs. Serving as the team’s DH for the second straight game, Jackie Bradley finished 2-for-4 with a run scored. The last three hitters in Gary DiSarcina’s lineup – Jeremy Hazelbaker, Jonathan Diaz and Brock Holt – combined to go 7-for-10 with four RBI and five runs scored.
Prior to the game, DiSarcina stated that Aceves would be limited to 80-85 pitches. Working at a quick pace, the skipper didn’t see a pressing need to take his starter out.
“He just kept going and felt good,” said DiSarcina. “He really didn’t have any taxing innings. He commanded his fastball and had good tempo. His pace was good.”
Durham threatened in the fourth as Aceves loaded the bases on a hit batsman and two walks in the fourth. He got out of the tight spot by getting Vince Belnome on a pop to short.
In the fifth, the first two Durham hitters walked and singled. But Aceves got a double-play grounder to short and then struck out Tampa Bay prospect Wil Myers to end it on a called third strike. The radar gun registered 94 miles per hour, his fastest reading of the night.
Aceves then retired the side in the sixth inning, including two more strikeouts. He was at 88 pitches heading into the frame.
“Hopefully God will keep us alive to see another game,” said Aceves when asked to look ahead to his next start.”
Craig Breslow registered a 15-pitch seventh inning for the PawSox, his third rehab appearance with the team. The lefty allowed two hits and added one strikeout.
“It’s tough to start the inning with a guy on second base after allowing a leadoff hit, but I made pitches when I had to,” said Breslow. “I threw a better breaking ball than I did in my last outing. It was another outing that was productive.”
Asked if he felt comfortable with the idea of returning the parent club, Breslow stated, “I feel like I’m significantly closer than I was the previous time. In my mind, maybe one more outing, but it’s not my decision.”
EXTRA BASES: Jose Iglesias missed Thursday’s game with a bruised right forearm, the result of getting hit by a pitch two days earlier. The shortstop did take batting practice, though afterwards was spotted with a protective sleeve that was removed for an ice bandage. “He’s just getting a day off, he’s not hurt,” said DiSarcina. “We were looking to tack on an off day [on top of Wednesday’s scheduled off day] so that he actually gets two days off. He’s fine.” … Infielder Drew Sutton left Thursday’s game in the third inning with what DiSarcina called “a slight tweak of the oblique.” … Chris Hernandez was scheduled to start Friday’s game, though that honor will now go to Allen Webster after the lefty Hernandez tossed two innings Thursday.