PAWTUCKET, R.I. — The formula the Pawtucket Red Sox used to torch John Maine on Aug. 14 was so successful they decided to use it again Wednesday night.
Pawtucket strafed Maine for five runs in 4 2/3 innings en route to a 7-4 victory in Game 1 of the teams' best-of-five, Governors' Cup semifinal series.
Game 2 is scheduled for tonight at McCoy Stadium with the Yankees' Ramon Ortiz (13-6) facing Pawtucket left-hander Chris Hernandez (1-4).
What made this loss even harder to stomach for the Yankees was the fact that they bolted to an early 4-0 lead – only to have Maine give it back and then some.
"They did a good job fouling off a lot of pitches and getting me into hitter's counts," Maine said. "They did it to me the last time (a 9-7 loss), too. It's a matter of timely hits.
"Instead of hitting a line drive at somebody, they were hitting balls off the wall which is what you're supposed to be doing. Like I said, they did a good job fouling off a lot of pitches and making me throw a lot of pitches."
As it turned out, the Yankees did the same thing to Pawtucket starter Zach Stewart.
The last time Stewart threw a meaningful pitch was on Aug. 29 when he was wearing a Boston uniform and was torched for nine runs in three innings by the Los Angeles Angels.
The Yankees emulated the Angels after grabbing a 4-0 lead after 2 1/2 innings.
Cole Garner's second-inning RBI single gave the Yankees a 1-0 lead.
Then, in the third, Kevin Russo belted a solo homer. After Corban Joseph doubled and Ronnie Musteilier flied out, Luke Murton crushed a two-run homer over the left-field fence for his first Triple-A home run.
"He hit some home runs in Trenton (25 to be precise)," Yankees manager Dave Miley said. "When we lost (Kosuke) Fukodome, they sent (Murton) up.
"He gave us a lead, short-lived, but a lead nonetheless."
Pawtucket commenced teeing off on Maine in the bottom of the third.
Tony Thomas doubled with one out and walked home when J.C. Linares crushed a two-run homer over the elevated billboards above Pawtucket's left-field bullpen.
Then, one out later, Andy LaRoche lined a solo shot to left which sliced Pawtucket's deficit to 4-3.
It was more of the same in the fifth, even though Maine retired the first PawSox batter he faced.
Thomas doubled again and, after Linares walked and Danny Valencia popped out, LaRoche lined a two-run double to left-center.
Pawtucket clipped Kelvin Perez for two runs in the eighth on Bryce Brentz's double.
Compounding the Yankees' problems was the fact they were 0-for-7 with runners in scoring position.
"That will do it," Miley said of his team's inability to deliver the clutch hit. "They got some big hits and we didn't get any after that home run from Murton."
One reason for that was Pawtucket's Alex Wilson, Pedro Beato and Jose De La Torre combined for four innings of two-hit, scoreless relief.
Pawtucket 7, Yankees 4 Game 1, Governors' Cup semifinals (Pawtucket leads series, 1-0)
|Russo 3b||5||1||1||1||Hazelbkr dh||5||0||1||0|
|Joseph 2b||4||1||2||0||Thomas 2b||4||2||3||0|
|Mustelier lf||4||0||0||0||Linares lf||3||2||1||2|
|Murton 1b||4||1||1||2||Valencia 3b||3||0||1||0|
|Mesa cf||4||0||1||0||LaRoche 1b||4||1||2||3|
|Romine c||3||1||0||0||Butler c||3||1||1||0|
|Garner rf||4||0||1||1||Brentz rf||4||1||1||2|
|Pena ss||4||0||2||0||Repko cf||4||0||1||0|
|McDonald dh||4||0||1||0||Hee ss||4||0||0||0|
SWB — 2B: Garner (1), Mesa (1), McDonald (1); HR: Russo (1), Murton (1); Team RISP: 0-for-7; Team LOB: 7.
PAW — 2B: Thomas 2 (2), LaRoche (1); HR: Linares (1), LaRoche (1), Brentz (1). Team RISP: 4-for-10; Team LOB: 6; SB: Hazelbaker (1); CS: Thomas (1); E: Thomas (1); DP: 1.
|Maine (L, 0-1)||4.2||7||5||5||2||6|
|Stewart (W, 1-0)||5.0||7||4||4||2||1|
|DeLaTorre (S, 1)||0.2||0||0||0||0||2|
Umpires: HP: Craig Barron. 1B: Jeff Gosney. 2B: Brad Myers. 3B: Chad Whitson. Att: 1,518. T: 2:47.