By Jonathan Burgos –
It’s Wednesday Night baseball as the Worcester Red Sox looked to take Game 2 of a one-week homestead against the New York Yankees Triple-A Affiliate,the Scraton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders. The Red Sox took Game 1 Monday night as Ronaldo Hernandez hit the go-ahead two-run home run to give the Sox the lead in the bottom of the eighth. Kaleb Ort came out to get the save as the Woosox went on to win 6-4 in a 4th of July come-back fashion.
At a sold out Polar Park (8891), it’s the big return of pitcher Chris Sale, who will be making his second rehab start for the Worcester Red Sox since the inaugural season back in 2021. Rising star prospect Brayan Bello will make his Boston Red Sox debut at Fenway Park tonight against the Tampa Bay Rays.
Bello has proven and shown that he is ready for The Show, shutting out his opponents each of his last (how many?) starts. The last time Sale pitched at Polar Park, he threw 81 pitches, 51 of which were strikes, gave up one run and recorded seven strikeouts and a walk as he earned the win in a 4-2 victory over the Buffalo Bisons.
It is also Tate Matheny Bobblehead Night. There’s no better way to celebrate Bobblehead night than the return of Chris Sale!
The last time Matheny and Sale played together, Matheny made a spectacular leaping catch at the wall in the fourth to rob Bisons infielder Kevin Smith of a home run. The famous Sale arms up in the air gesture will forever be archived in Woosox history.
Sale got center fielder Tim Locastro to pop up for the first out on his second pitch. He then went on to walk two batters, but would eventually get Greg Bird to ground out to second to end the inning.
In the bottom half of the inning, the Woosox got one man on base, but three groundouts led to no runs, keeping it a scoreless tie at the end of the first inning.
Second baseman Jose Paraza flies out to Davis for the first out in the top half of the second inning. Sale then got Chris Owings down looking with a 84mph pitch for the second out before getting David Freitas swinging for the final out of the top half of the second.
Left fielder Christin Stewart crushed a 95 mph pitch over the FlexCon Landing wall (421ft) to give Worcester the early 1-0 lead in the bottom of the second inning. Pedro Castallanos goes down with an 85mph pitch for the final out.
Paraza goes down swinging on a sweeping slider for the first out. Sale then got Jake Bauers to ground out into the 4-6-3 double play to end the top half of the third.
In the top of the fourth, with runners on first, and second with no outs. Sale gets Paraza swinging on the 84 mph slider for the first out. Sale strikes out designated hitter Armando Alvarez with the 96mph fastball for the second out.
With the bases loaded, however, Sale walked Freitas to bring a run home, tying the score at one. That would be the end of Sale’s evening as he was pulled and replaced by Eduard Bazardo. Bazardo struck out Locastro for the final out of the top of the fourth.
Jeter Downs would give the WooSox the lead again in the bottom of the fifth as he crushed a home run to right field on a 84mph pitch. The RailRiders took the lead back in the seventh inning as Bauers drove in two runs on a double to deep right field. They would add on one more to make the score 4-2 in favor of Scranton headed into the bottom of the inning.
In the bottom of the ninth, Christin Stewart doubled with a hit to center field, leaving the tying run to come to the plate. Unfortunately, Downs struck out swinging to end the game. The RailRiders would win the game by a final score of 4-2.
Chris Sale went 3.2 innings, allowing three hits, one run and out five. He threw 72 pitches, 42 of which were strikes.
The Worcester Red Sox next game will be Thursday against the RailRiders. First pitch will be at 6:45 p.m. at Polar Park.