PAWTUCKET — Allen Webster brought out his best to nab his first Triple-A victory on a cold Friday night.
The 23-year-old prospect delivered six innings of two-hit ball, striking out nine batters and walking none, to help the Pawtucket Red Sox produce a 4-1 victory over the Durham Bulls at McCoy Stadium.
Aside from a shaky third inning that saw Webster hit the first batter he faced and the Bulls collect both their hits and score their run, Webster was simply on top of his game.
He retired the side in order in the other five innings he worked (allowing just two batted balls to reach the outfield grass) and concluded his outing in style in the sixth by striking out the top three batters in the Bulls’ lineup.
“He threw six dominant innings,” PawSox manager Gary DiSarcina said of Webster, who in his first three starts with Pawtucket – all no decisions – had a 3.21 ERA and 17 strikeouts and six walks in 14 innings of work. “He was outstanding.”
This was Webster’s second start since making his Major League debut back on April 21 against the Kansas City Royals at Fenway Park. In that game, he tossed six innings and received a no-decision, fanning five and surrendering five hits, two earned runs, and a walk.
He returned to the PawSox after that contest, but struggled in his next start, allowing four runs, three hits, and three walks, but last night, the former Los Angeles Dodgers farmhand did a turn for the better with his splendid outing.
“I think coming back from Fenway and the outing he had out there, he might have had a little Fenway hangover,” said DiSarcina. “Sometimes when guys come down after being in that atmosphere, it takes them a while to adjust. They’re human. They’re going to feel a little disappointed, and sometimes, they get distracted and lose some concentration.
“But tonight, that wasn’t the case with him. He was outstanding. He pitched down in the zone, he had his swing-and-miss change-up going again, and his fastball was exploding, and he also threw a good slider in there.”
The hosts, meanwhile, did all their scoring in each of the first three innings to back Webster with a three-run lead. Ryan Lavarnway knocked in three of the runs with a sacrifice fly to center in the bottom of the first inning and a long two-run homer to left in the third.
Jackie Bradley Jr. drove in the other run and made it a 2-0 game with a run-scoring groundout, but the Bulls scored their run in the third when Brandon Guyer got hit by a pitch, Cole Figueroa blooped a single to shallow left, and Jason Bourgeois lined an RBI single to right.
After Webster left the game, the bullpen took over and shut the door on the Bulls. Jose De La Torre blanked Durham over the next two innings on a hit and a walk, and Anthony Carter picked up his second save of the year with a scoreless ninth, allowing a bloop single, but fanning the side.
While the PawSox’s pitching staff did a solid job, so did Durham’s, which limited the hosts to only five hits behind starting (and losing) pitcher Alex Colome and relievers Will Inman and Jeff Belliveau.
EXTRA BASES: Before the game, infielder Drew Sutton was placed on the 7-day disables list with a muscle strain in his side. Replacing Sutton on the roster is infielder Ryan Dent, who was transferred from Double-A Portland after batting .286 in 11 games with the Sea Dogs. Dent pinch-hit for Bradley Jr. in the sixth and struck out to end the inning. … Legendary Boston Red Sox right fielder Dwight Evans was at McCoy last night, working with the PawSox outfielders before the game. … Left fielder Jeremy Hazelbaker extended his hit streak to 11 games with a second-inning bunt single. … Wil Myers, the Bulls’ No. 3 batter and the prized outfield prospect of the Tampa Bay Rays, was the DH and went 0-for-4 with a weak grounder to first, followed by three strikeouts. … Warwick’s Terry Doyle (2-1, 2.93) gets the start in today’s 1:05 p.m. contest. He will be opposed by J.D. Martin (2-1, 4.50).