Final, 4-2 Paw: And that's the game!
Mock shuts the door on the Bisons, and the PawSox kick off the 2012 season with a win.
Starter Justin Germano gets the W for Pawtucket after going five innings and only surrendering two runs. Tazawa and Mock then shut the door with four scoreless innings out of the pen.
Ciriaco led the way for the offense, going 4-for-5 with two RBIs, while Middlebrooks turned in his own 3-for-4 performance to start the year.
The PawSox and Bisons will be back in action tomorrow night, with the first pitch scheduled for 6:15 p.m. at McCoy Stadium.
Top 9th, 4-2 Paw: Garrett Mock is back out for the 9th to try to shut the door on the Bisons.
After leading off the inning with a walk, Mock gets Pascucci to ground into a double play.
The PawSox are one out away from an opening day win.
End 8th, 4-2 Paw: Ciriaco's perfect batting average is snapped, as he flies out to center field to open the 8th. I guess he'll just have to settle for a 4-for-5 season opener.
Iglesias (0-for-4) and Lavarnway (0-for-3, 2 BBs) go down by way of the K, so we move on to the 9th!
Top 8th, 4-2 Paw: Iglesias makes the play of the game so far, robbing Omar Quintanilla of a hit with a diving, backhanded catch. He's living up to his billing as a defensive whiz so far.
Tazawa leaves after two innings. His final line: 2 IP, 0 ER, 1 H, 1 B, 4 SO
Mid 7th, 4-2 Paw: Tazawa strikes out the side in the 7th, with a single and wild pitch sandwiched in between.
Four strikeouts — to one hit and one walk — in two innings for the righty.
Official attendance, by the way: 8,872
End 6th, 4-2 Paw: Middlebrooks flies out to center field to end the inning, which means Ciriaco is now the only member of the team who's batting 1.000.
The PawSox have now stranded 11 baserunners through six. With just the two-run lead, hopefully that doesn't come back to bite them.
Bot 6th, 4-2 Paw: Here we go again.
Lavarnway draws his second walk of the game, loading the bases with two outs for Gomez.
Bot 6th, 4-2 Paw: When you're hot, you're hot.
That's probably not what people will be saying about Ciriaco after the opener despite his four-hit performance (so far), as he three of them didn't make it past the infield.
Still, they all count the same in the box score.
Mid 6th, 4-2 Paw: Tazawa throws a scoreless 6th, mixing in a walk and a strikeout.
His fastball was 86-88 mph against the first couple batters, but he got it up to 93 mph by the end of the inning.
Top 6th, 4-2 Paw: Junichi Tazawa enters the game for the PawSox and makes a nice play on a grounder back to the mound to start off the 6th.
The 25-year-old right-hander from Japan split 22 games (eight starts) between Portland and Pawtucket last season, going 4-4 with a 4.61 ERA and 59 strikeouts in 56 1/3 innings. Tazawa appeard in six games for the Red Sox in 2009, but missed all of 2010 after undergoing Tommy John surgery.
Germano's final line: 5 IP, 3 H, 2 ER, 0 BB, 2 SO, 2 HRA
End 5th, 4-2 Paw: PawSox have extended to the lead to two runs…without the ball leaving the infield once.
After two straight walks, Middlebrooks smoked a liner off the pitcher — which was generously scored his third hit — to load the bases.
Then, after new Bisons pitcher Jeff Stevens got Lin to pop out to first (he's still struggling to make good contact), Repko hit an infield single to deep third base to drive across another run.
Hassan lines out sharply to third to end the inning, but not before the PawSox have their biggest lead of the season.
Bot 5th, 3-2 Paw: Gomez and Lars draw back-to-back walks, which forces Harvey from the game.
The PawSox drew four walks in 4 1/3 innings from the Buffalo starter.
Two on with one out for Middlebrooks.
Bot 5th, 3-2 Paw: Lavarnway flies out to the warning track in left to lead off the bottom of the 5th. Both his outs so far have been well struck, while none of Ciriaco's three hits have been well struck.
Like I said before, baseball is a funny game.
Top 5th, 3-2 Paw: Lin makes a sliding catch coming in from center field. He sure can cover a lot of ground.
Gotta love this tweet from the Providence Journal's Brian MacPherson: "The designated hitter who just homered for Buffalo [Pascucci] is so old he played for the Expos."
End 4th, 3-2 Paw: And the PawSox strike right back!
Middlebrooks smokes his second double of the day down the right-field line to start things off, before Repko draws a walk.
Hassan then reaches on an error to load the passes, follwed up by a two-run single Ciriaco, who's now 3-for-3 on the evening.
Iglesias is 0-for-3 so far after grounding into an inning-ending twin-killing, although he did make solid contact in his second AB.
Mid 4th, 2-1 Buf: The Bisons strike right back!
No. 2 hitter Josh Satin lives up to his last name, hitting a solo homer to left field.
Then, two batters later, Valentino Pascucci (he might be Italian) takes Germano yard to nearly the same spot of the ballpark.
The PawSox face their first deficit of the young, young season.
End 3rd, 1-0 Paw: PawSox strike first on a Gomez single to left field!
Matt Harvey has thrown 54 pitches through three innings, compared to just 34 for Germano.
Bot 3rd, 0-0: As another person in the press box pointed out: Ciriaco hasn't hit the ball past shortstop, yet is 2-for-2. Baseball is a funny game.
Ciriaco then gets to third on a stolen base and wild pitch, before Lavarnway draws a walk. Runners on the corners with two outs for Gomez.
Mid 3rd, 0-0: Germano gives up a one-out double, but the Bisons failed to push a run across the plate.
This game is following a very similar tune to one another Red Sox team played in earlier today. Hopefully, though, the outcome will be better for the good guys.
End 2nd, 0-0: Repko gives one a ride to deep left, but gets nothing but a long flyout to show for it.
Still no score heading into the 3rd.
Top 2nd, 0-0: Middlebrooks hits a one-out double to the right-center field gap.
The third baseman hit just .161 after his call-up late last season, so it will be interesting to see how he adjusts with 56 Triple-A at-bats under his belt.
I've seen him play about a half-dozen times, and the ball really seems to jump off his bat when he makes contact.
Lin steps to the plate with a chance to give the PawSox the lead…
Mid 1st, 0-0: Germano looks sharp here in the early going, setting down the first six batters.
The 29-year-old righty has appeared in 79 games (36 starts) in six different stints in the majors, so he could be a candidate for a spot start if any of the Sox' starting pitchers need to miss a game or two.
Iglesias makes a nice backhanded stab on his first defensive opportunity of the season.
End 1st, 0-0: Buffalo pitcher Matt Harvey gets out of the jam.
Lavarnway was robbed of a hit by a diving catch by center fielder Kirk Nieuwenhuis, then Ciriaco was thrown out at third on a double-steal attempt.
No score as we head to the 2nd.
Bot 1st, 0-0: First two are on for the PawSox.
Ciriaco leads off the game with an infield single (that could have been an error), followed up by an E1 that allows Iglesias to reach base.
Runners on first and second for Lavarnway with nobody out.
Mid 1st, 0-0: Fly out and two grounders to second gives Germano the 1-2-3 inning to kick off the game.
Onto the home half of the 1st.
2B – Pedro Ciriaco
SS – Jose Iglesias
C – Ryan Lavarnway
DH – Mauro Gomez
1B – Lars Anderson
3B – Will Middlebrooks
CF – Che-Hsuan Lin
RF – Jason Repko
LF – Alex Hassan
Top 1st: And were live from Pawtucket, where it's a scorching 49 degrees!
Justin Germano gets the start for the PawSox, and he delivers an 85-mph heater for a strike to start off the season.
8 a.m. ET: While the big club gets ready to kick off its 2012 campaign in Detroit, the Pawtucket Red Sox will begin their season Thursday night at the friendly confines of McCoy Stadium.
Fresh off the team's first International League North Division title since 2003, the PawSox are looking to keep that momentum going when they face the New York Mets' Triple-A affiliate, the Buffalo Bisons.
Pawtucket's lineup is littered with infield prospects, including the likes of third baseman Will Middlebrooks, catcher Ryan Lavarnway, first baseman Lars Anderson and shortstop Jose Iglesias, whom many anticipate will get a call to Boston at some point this season. Lavarnway led the 2011 squad with 18 homers, while Anderson batted in a team-best 78 runs.
First pitch is slated for 7:05 p.m., so stick with NESN for live updates throughout the game.
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