PAWTUCKET – Fresh off a 5-3 road trip that saw them take over first place in the North Division, the Pawtucket Red Sox kept the good times rolling Friday night.
It may have taken some time, yet Pawtucket was able to outlast Syracuse courtesy of a 9-8 contest that took 12 innings and lasted four hours, 20 minutes. The hero was Jonathan Diaz, who blooped a ball into shallow right-center to score Justin Henry with one down in the 12th.
Diaz’ third base hit of the game went in the books as a double. Ryan Rowland-Smith picked up his third victory after tossing a scoreless top-of-the 12th.
Chris Hernandez looked like he wouldn’t last more than one inning, yet to the lefty’s credit he was able to rebound and deliver six innings. Four of the first five Chiefs’ hitters rapped hits off of Hernandez, who placed the PawSox in a 3-0 disadvantage prior to the home team stepping up for their first turn of what turned out to be a long evening.
Syracuse, which entered play Friday with the third-worst record in the International League, enjoyed a 5-2 lead in the seventh inning. The same frame saw Mitch Maier, who just came off the disabled list earlier in the week, rip a two-run home run as part of a four-run uprising that enabled the PawSox to take a 6-5 lead.
A two-run double by Chris Rahl enabled the Chiefs to re-claim the lead in the 8th with Will Rhymes also notching a run-scoring double. Just like that, the PawSox went from up a run to trailing 8-6.
Drew Sutton picked a fine time for his first home run of the season, a two-run shot that sailed over the right-center field fence and evened the contest at 8-apiece. Both teams went experienced an offensive lull before the PawSox came through with the game winner.
The series with the Chiefs continues Saturday night with Allen Webster taking the ball for Pawtucket. Rubby De La Rosa will go on Sunday followed by Alfredo Aceves on Monday. Aceves was added back to Pawtucket’s roster on Friday after reliever Graham Godfrey was traded to Pittsburgh late Thursday night for cash considerations.