The Pawtucket Red Sox used five solid innings from Doug Mathis to spoil Andy Pettitte’s final Minor League tune-up as they defeated the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees 7-5 on Sunday afternoon.
Mathis allowed 3 runs (1 earned) on 5 hits while striking out 5 and walking 2 in the winning effort.
The afternoon was all about Pettitte, though, as 13,584 packed Frontier Field to see the New York Yankees star pitcher. The crowd, representing the largest in the park’s history for a regular season game, witnessed a 39-year-old who simply didn’t have his best stuff.
Pettitte lasted five innings but surrendered 5 runs (3 earned) on 8 hits. He struck out 5 and walked 2. Pettitte’s velocity sat at around 87 MPH but it was his command that failed him against the PawSox.
He had trouble locating his off-speed pitches, frequently missing up and away to righties. Pettitte left a ball belt-high over the middle of the plate to Pedro Ciriaco for a single to load the bases in the second inning before walking Jose Iglesias on four pitches. Without a 5-4-3 double play off the bat of Ryan Lavarnway, the damage could have been much worse.
The highlight of the afternoon for many was watching Pettitte pick Lars Anderson off at first base to end the first inning. The Major League leader in pick-offs caught Anderson leaning and Steve Pearce applied the tag.
The Yankees star admitted after the game that this was his worst performance amongst six Minor League tune-up starts.
Ultimately, the Pawtucket bullpen bended but didn’t break, allowing Mathis’ effort to stand up for the win. Junichi Tazawa allowed 2 runs (both earned) on 4 hits in two innings but Justin Thomas and Garrett Mock pitched scoreless frames to secure win number nineteen for the PawSox.
Relocating Sunday’s Game a Success for the Rochester Community
Rochester Red Wings General Manager Dan Mason deserves a lot of credit for pulling Sunday’s game off for the fans of Rochester, NY.
The game was slated to be played in Batavia, NY at Dwyer Stadium, home of the Batavia Muckdogs. Dwyer holds roughly 2,800 people and was tasked with hosting seven Yankee games while their park, PNC Field, undergoes renovations in 2012.
The Yankees said that Pettitte wouldn’t make an appearance in Batavia if he was to rehab in Western New York, leaving Mason in quite a pickle.
The Rochester Red Wings were supposed to host the Buffalo Bisons for a 1:05 game on Sunday but both organizations agreed to a double header on Saturday evening. When presented with an opportunity for their players to get an extra day off, the decision was a no-brainer.
Pawtucket could have said no to relocating the game but really didn’t have a good reason to. The Yankees, who are without a home in 2012, were simply along for the ride.
Making this happen in roughly 24 hours? Simply unbelievable. The game represented a tremendous job by all parties to help produce the largest regular season crowd in Frontier Field history.
Andy Pettitte may have suffered the loss but everyone in attendance was a winner on Sunday afternoon.
-Jose Iglesias picked up his fifth consecutive 2-hit game in the winning effort. He was extremely comfortable at the plate and played stellar defense (as usual).
-Mauro Gomez’s struggles continued after another 0-4 effort. He is now 4 for his last 25 with 2 HR and 5 RBI in the span.
-Garrett Mock picked up his fourth save in five chances. His only blown save was against the PawSox on April 25th.
-Brett Gardner will begin a rehab assignment with the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees in Rochester against the Columbus Clippers on Monday evening.