On a sweltering Sunday afternoon at McCoy Stadium, Toledo’s Freddy Guzman “burned” the Pawtucket Red Sox on the base paths.
Guzman stole a team-record tying four bases and scored three runs as the Mud Hens salvaged a split of their four-game series with the PawSox by recording an 8-4 victory.
Guzman now has 26 steals on the season while Brent Clevelen stole his sixth base.
“We’ve got a few guys that can run and today the right guys got on base so we could do some things and try to create some runs,” manager Larry Parrish said. “We lead off Guzman because he’s a guy, who if he gets on base, helps out the guys behind him. Because of his speed, the other guys are going to see more fastballs.
“He can manufacture runs for you.”
Just as admirable as Guzman’s performance was that of Toledo starter Yorman Bazardo.
With the game-time temperature at 92 degrees and humidity almost so thick the 10,315 fans in attendance could see it, Bazardo (4-5) pitched six-and-two-thirds innings and allowed four runs on only four hits.
He walked two, struck out five and threw a commendable 66 of 101 pitches for strikes.
“Bazardo had a better slider than he’s had all year,” Parrish said. “It was the best game he’s thrown for us in a couple of months.
“It was a hot, humid day and he was able to throw 100 pitches for us and really did a heck of a job for us. We felt fortunate to get that far with a starting pitcher today and this club, obviously, has a lot of left-handed weapons so we decided to make the switch and try to hold them down right there.”
Parrish summoned Ian Ostlund who combined with Francis Beltran to toss 2.1 innings of two-hit, scoreless relief. The duo also struck out a total of four PawSox.
The Mud Hens emulated their Saturday performance in that they jumped out to an early lead—in this case 4-0 after two-and-a-half innings—and relied on their pitching to keep the International League’s most potent offense under control.
Guzman set the tone in the first when he led with a single off David Pauley (11-3), stole second, advanced to third on Mike Holliman’s groundout to first and scored on Timo Perez’s single.
Guzman also figured in a second-inning run.
Kody Kirkland singled, Guzman drew a two-out walk and Holliman followed with an RBI single.
Toledo gave Bazardo some breathing room in the third when Clevlen walked, stole second and scored on Erik Almonte’s double. Almonte raced home moments later on Max St. Pierre’s single.
Pawtucket did get to Bazardo in the bottom of the third on a solo home run by Gil Velazques plus RBI hits by Joe Thurston (single) and Sandy Madera (double).
Toledo chased Pauley in the third due in large part to Guzman.
After Guzman drew a leadoff walk, he stole second and raced home on Perez’s double.
Toledo added two runs in the sixth, one on Clevlen’s single.
Clevelen capped the scoring by belting his 17th homer in the ninth.
Ironically, the Mud Hens beat Pawtucket’s top two pitchers—and two of the I.L.’s best in 24 hours.
After strafing Charlie Zink (11-3) in a 13-5 win on Saturday, they tagged Pauley for five runs (all earned) on eight hits in three-and-a-third innings on Sunday.
EXTRA BASES: Boston recalled reliever Justin Masterson from McCoy after Saturday night’s game and activated him before Sunday’s game at Anaheim…Masterson replaces David Aardsma who was placed on the 15-day disabled list with a strained right groin muscle.