MOOSIC — Shane Robinson took a perfect route, tracking down a Sam Travis drive toward the center field wall.
The only problem? The Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders center fielder was less than half a step late getting to the wall.
When Robinson took his leap at the wall he thought he was going to rob the Pawtucket Red Sox first baseman of a big hit. But the ball cleared his glove, and the wall, by just a couple of inches.
It proved to be the difference.
Travis’ drive, a two-run home run, gave the Red Sox a lead they’d never surrender.
Trailing by two runs heading into the bottom of the fourth inning, the RailRiders (40-40) were able to muster just three base runners the rest of the afternoon and would go on to fall, 2-0, in the series finale against Pawtucket (39-42).
“I guess I was pretty close,” Robinson said of the catch. “(Mark) Payton saw it better. I thought I was going to catch it and it didn’t hit my glove, so I was like, ‘Oh, I guess I was off.’ But he said it was pretty close. Yeah, that would have been nice, but what can you do?”
Brody Koerner made just one mistake.
Making the spot start for David Hale, who was called up by the New York Yankees earlier in the day, Koerner was dealing for the first three innings. Most importantly, his slider, which he had been working on during his time with Double-A Trenton, was effective. Then he lost the pitch when facing the Red Sox in their second time through the order.
Koerner got bailed out by Rusney Castillo’s base running mistake, catching the Pawtucket center fielder stealing after he hit a lead-off double to start the fourth. But then the right-hander walked Mike Ohlman to set up a battle against the Boston Red Sox’s No. 7 prospect in Travis.
It was a battle he’d lose.
Koerner tried to throw a slider by Travis, but the pitch was over the middle of the plate “that didn’t really move.” Travis crushed the pitch.
“There’s no excuse for it. I just stopped executing pitches,” Koerner said. “The slider, I started leaving up and that was really the biggest difference. I felt like I still commanded the fastball fairly well, but I just didn’t make the same pitch with the slider that I did earlier in the game and I felt like that was the difference in the later innings.
“What it comes down to, I’m just trying to execute each pitch and I didn’t execute that one and he got it. Tip my hat to him. He beat me today, so that’s what it boils down to.”
Offensively, the RailRiders looked lackadaisical at times, finishing with four hits and six baserunners total.
It all started in the second inning when the RailRiders put together their best threat.
Ryan McBroom led off the frame with a bloop single to right field. With one out in the inning, Mark Payton drove a ball to left field and while, trying to leg out a double, McBroom was slow around second base and ended up stopping at the bag, forcing Payton to retreat back to first base.
A Bruce Caldwell forceout to shortstop gave the RailRiders men on the corners and two outs with L.J. Mazzilli at the dish. However, the threat would stop there as Mazzilli grounded out to shortstop to end the frame and end Scranton/Wilkes-Barre’s best opportunity.
“We didn’t have very many quality at-bats — the whole time,” RailRiders manager Bobby Mitchell said. “We seemed dead today.
“I think that our — I’m not blaming anybody, but our lack of aggressiveness base running hurt us early, and we would have scored and we didn’t. And I think that set the stage for the rest of the day.”
Days off for Frazier, Wade
Clint Frazier and Tyler Wade both received days off on Sunday, avoiding have to play in the 90-degree weather.
Frazier has seen consistent playing time his entire stint with the RailRiders while Wade has had two days off dating back to June 10, with one day being a break in the schedule. Mitchell said after the game that part of the reason Frazier received a day off was because he still had a softball-sized welt on his thigh from being hit by a pitch in Saturday’s game.
“They needed some days off and Clint got hit in the leg and he was still sore, so might as well do it. Get them ready for the road trip,” Mitchell said.
Red Sox 2, RailRiders 0
De Jesus Jr. 2b`3`0`0`0
R. Castillo cf`4`0`1`0
W. Castillo c`3`0`1`0
DP: Red Sox 0, RailRiders 1; LOB: Red Sox 4, RailRiders 5; 2B: R. Castillo (20), McBroom (13); HR: Travis (5); CS: R. Castillo (5), Sturgeon (1).
Pawtucket`000`200`000 — 2
RailRiders`000`000`000 — 0
Smith (W, 2-2)`5`3`0`0`0`5
Kelly (H, 1)`2`0`0`0`0`2
Rodriguez (S, 1)`2`1`0`0`0`2
Koerner (L, 1-3)`4`6`2`2`1`4
HBP: Caldwell (by Smith).
Umpires: Ryan Wills, HP; Scott Costello, 1B; Alex Tosi, 3B.
Time: 2:19; Attendance: 6,557.
Reach DJ Eberle at 570-991-6398 or on Twitter @ByDJEberle