Top-10 PawSox Moments in May

Between the late nights, early morning flights, bumpy bus rides, and countless other factors, a minor league baseball season can quickly become a blur. Today, as we flip the calendar to the start of June, we’ll begin by rewinding to the beginning of May to rank the Top-10 moments from the month that was.

#10 – Nava Gets Second Call-Up to Boston (May 10)

Even though there wasn’t a grand slam this time, Daniel Nava’s return to the Major Leagues was, to some, maybe as unthinkable as his historic slam in his big league debut in 2010.

Never mind the fact that Nava wasn’t invited to Major League camp, he wasn’t even in the PawSox Opening Day lineup. After a slow start to the year, Nava caught fire and has continued to produce with Boston.

#9 – Gomez Delivers in the Eighth Inning (May 10)

The PawSox trailed the Rochester Red Wings at McCoy Stadium by a run going into the bottom of the eighth inning. With two outs, Jose Iglesias singled, then Lars Anderson reached on an error by former PawSox second baseman, Joe Thurston. That’s when Mauro Gomez ripped a two-run double that bounced off the right-field wall to plate two runs and give the PawSox the lead and the eventual win, 7-6.

Gomez has had plenty to smile about this season. Not only has he received his first Major League call-up, but he leads the PawSox in home runs, runs batted in, doubles, and hits. (Kelly O’Connor).

#8 – Mathis Nearly Perfect, Youkilis Rehabs (May 21)

After struggling in April, Doug Mathis flipped the switch in May and dominated the Norfolk Tides in his ninth start of the year.

The former Texas Ranger had maybe the best outing of any Pawtucket starter this year by tossing seven-innings scoreless, allowing just one hit – a fifth-inning triple that was almost caught with two outs.

The PawSox blanked the Tides 4-0 and were aided by rehabbing Kevin Youkilis who finished 1-for-2 with an RBI double and a pair of walks.

#7 – Middlebrooks Gets the Call (May 2)

After thrashing International League pitching throughout April, PawSox third baseman, and Red Sox No. 1 prospect, Will Middlebrooks received his first-ever call-up to Boston.

Since joining the Red Sox, Middlebrooks is batting .316 (30-for-95) in 24 games with six homers and 21 runs batted in. Safe to say it’s looking less likely he’ll see Pawtucket again this season.

In 24 games with the PawSox, Middlebrooks hit .333 with nine homers and 27 runs batted in. Five of is home runs came with two men on base. (Kelly O’Connor)

#6 – Hassan Delivers on Mother’s Day (May 13)

On a beautiful Mother’s Day at McCoy, the PawSox and Columbus Clippers were tied 4-4 in the bottom of the eighth inning. With his mom in the stands, Alex Hassan homered to left-field with one out to give Pawtucket a 5-4 lead and the eventual win.

Hassan finished the day 3-for-3 with two runs batted in, three runs scored, and was a triple shy of the cycle.

#5 – PawSox and Bulls Take Center Stage in Japan (May 17)

In front of over 10,000 fans, plus thousands more watching on Japanese sports cable channel J SPORTS, two of the Pacific Rim’s biggest  baseball stars squared off at Durham Bulls Athletic Park.

Rehabbing Daisuke Matsuzaka pitched for the PawSox as Hideki Matsui played his third-career game in the Tampa Bay Rays’ system. Although Pawtucket lost 5-0 and never moved a runner past second base, the media hype and overall buzz within the ballpark made it one of the more memorable games this season.

There were over 35 Japanese media members in Durham to report on Matsuzaka vs. Matsui. (Kelly O’Connor).

#4 – PawSox Homer Five Times (May 27)

Not only did the PawSox club five home runs, but three of the first four batters in the bottom of the first inning went deep.

Pedro Ciriaco hit a lead-off homer to left, followed by Nate Spears’ home run to right. After Darnell McDonald smoked a line drive to third base, Lars Anderson went deep to right field.

Anderson homered again to begin the sixth inning, followed by Alex Hassan’s 2-run shot in the eighth. For Anderson, it was his third-career two-homer game, his first since 2009.

#3 – PawSox Take Down Andy Pettitte (May 6)  

Originally scheduled to be played at Dwyer Stadium in Batavia, Ny., the PawsSox and Yankees dueled in front of a record crowd at Frontier Field in Rochester. Because of the media and fan interest, the Yankees, PawSox, and Red Wings all agreed to move the contest to Rochester where, in a matter of days, the Wings sold 13,584 tickets to watch Andy Pettitte.

With the Triple-A Yankees’ ballpark under season-long construction, the PawSox dealt the five-time World Series champion a loss. In fact, the first four PawSox batters recorded hits off Pettitte: Pedro Ciriaco (double), Jose Iglesias (infield single), Ryan Lavarnway (RBI double), and Lars Anderson (RBI single).

Iglesias went 2-for-3 with an RBI against Pettitte and the Yankees. Even more impressive, the PawSox shortstop hit .341 in May with his second-career homer and nine runs batted in. (Kelly O’Connor)

#2 – Lavarnway’s Bomb Caps Seven-Run Inning, and the Win (May 26)

The PawSox went into the bottom of the eighth inning trailing Toledo 5-1. When the inning was over, they lead 8-5. Ryan Lavarnway’s 3-run homer was the bow on top of  a 7-run, 7-hit inning – the most runs scored in a single frame this season by Pawtucket.

Not only was Lavarnway’s home run a first pitch no-doubter, it was his first home run since April 17 (99 at-bats).

#1 – Lars Anderson Makes SportsCenter’s Top 10 Plays (May 29)

For the first time in the history of McCoy Stadium, a home run was hit of the HD video board in right-center field. As part of his third-career, five-RBI night, Anderson pounded a two-run shot in the fourth inning that blew out a small portion of the two-year old board.

Photo taken of the video board at McCoy Stadium seconds after Anderson’s blast. (Jillian Souza)

For his efforts, Anderson was among the Top-10 plays that night (and the next morning) on SportsCenter.

There were plenty of noteworthy moments throughout May for the PawSox, who ended the month 18-12. Tonight June begins with Game 1 of a brief four-game road trip to Lehigh Valley to face the Iron Pigs. Brandon Duckworth (5-1, 4.22) will be opposed by righty Scott Elarton (5-2, 3.44).

First pitch tonight from Coca-Cola Park is scheduled for 7:05, we hit the air with the pre-game show at 6:50.

Talk with you then.

-AG

@aaronmgoldsmith
agoldsmith@pawsox.com

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