PAWTUCKET â€“ At this point, you have to feel for Daniel Bard.
The Red Sox can point to the fact that Bard was not touched for an earned run in his inning of work Thursday night, but make no mistake: it was another tough night at the office for the struggling reliever. In case youâ€™re just joining us, Bardâ€™s latest attempt to get back on track provided a nice, tucked-in capsule of what has plagued the reliever during his two-plus month stint with the Pawtucket Red Sox.
In a word, it was pure disaster. From the two walks Bard issued to hitting Scrantonâ€™s Brandon Laird in the head with a 3-1 pitch, little evidence was provided to even remotely suggest that Bard is a candidate to return to the big leagues in 2012. To cap everything off, Bard allowed the go-ahead two-run single that allowed the Junior Yankees to snag a 5-4 victory, a triumph that allowed the vagabonds from Moosic, Pa. to extend their I.L. North lead to two games.
Bard wound up allowing three unearned runs, the result of a throwing error that he made and one by shortstop Jose Iglesias, a miscue that came with two down and right before Melky Mesa blooped a shot into center field to score a pair. The reliever was asked to protect a 4-2 lead as he took the mound for the last of the seventh.
The inning began with a walk with Scrantonâ€™s Corban Joseph following with a shot back to the pitcher that Bard bobbled before unleashing a one-hop throw that pulled Iglesias off the second-base bag. Bard was able to trap Chris Dickerson between second and third, picking the right fielder off for the first out.
A foul out to catcher Dan Butler went into the books as the second out as Bard appeared on the verge of escaping. Instead he plummeted deeper. The confrontation with Laird featured several misses inside before Bard plunked the DH.
The next batter, former Red Sox and PawSox outfielder Darnell McDonald, reached on an error by Iglesias, which enabled the Yankees to draw one run closer. Following the Mesa base hit, Bard retired Kosuke Fukudome on a force out. A chorus of boos greeted him as he exited the mound.
All told Bard issued two walks and struck out no one while throwing 29 pitches, 14 for strikes.
J.C. Linares stroked his sixth home run of the season for Pawtucket, a solo shot off Scranton starter Justin Thomas in the third inning. Thomas began the season in Bostonâ€™s bullpen.
EXTRA BASES: Ryan Kalish was out of the lineup Thursday after suffering an ankle injury the previous night. PawSox manager Arnie Beyeler said the outfielder is day-to-day and is hopeful that Kalish can return to action by Saturday. â€¦ Pawtucket will welcome right-handed reliever Pedro Beato today. The 25-year-old Beato was the player to be named in the Kelly Shoppach deal Boston made with the New York Mets earlier in the week. Beato had been with Triple-A Buffalo, posting a 3.73 ERA in 27 appearances. In an ironic twist, his last outing with the Bisons came Monday night against the PawSox, serving up back-to-back home runs in the eighth inning to Mauro Gomez and Andy LaRoche.