The Pawtucket Red Sox faced off against the Tampa Bay Rays' affiliate Durham Bulls Saturday in front of a packed crowd at McCoy Stadium to watch Carl Crawford in his last rehab start before returning to the Red Sox lineup.
Crawford batted third in the lineup which is probably the first time he's hit third all season.
After a Che-Hsuan Lin leadoff single and a Daniel Nava pop out, Crawford was up to bat. After a couple of foul balls Pittsfield, Mass. native Matt Torra rang Crawford up for his first strikeout of the evening.
The night didn't get any better for Crawford as he grounded out in the third and popped out in his final at bat before being pulled for Nate Spears in the fifth. Crawford failed to hit a ball out of the infield in his three plate appearances.
The Bulls almost batted around twice off Tony Pena Jr. in an exciting fourth inning that made McCoy Stadium look like a pinball machine. By the time it was over, they were up 7-1 after the top of the fourth and seemed to be on cruise control.
After a Ron Bermudez RBI single, and a Che-Hsuan Lin RBI, the PawSox loaded the bases. Lars Anderson, who seems to be surprisingly popular in the seven- to 10-year-old male demographic, then evened the score 7-7 with a towering grand slam.
The Bulls got one back on a run scored by ex-Blue Jay Felipe Lopez. They then proceeded to dismantle Scott Atchinson (3-1, 1.88 ERA) in the ninth capped by a Leslie Anderson two run shot to go up 11-7.
Despite a Ryan Lavarnway bomb in the bottom of the inning the PawSox failed to complete the comeback. Lavarnway (4-4, HR, RBI) and Lin (3-5, RBI) had very impressive performances and made a strong case for being called up once the Red Sox expand to their 40-man roster.
The case could be made as well that Lavarnway is perhaps the best hitting catcher in the Red Sox organization.