By BRENDAN McGAIR
PAWTUCKET – A long night at McCoy Stadium resulted in a sour ending for the Pawtucket Red Sox.
Jonathan Schoop’s two-run home run in the top of the 15th inning helped snap a 2-all deadlock and propel visiting Norfolk to a 5-2 win at McCoy Stadium. Schoop drove in three of the four runs the Tides scores in extra innings after coming through with a run-scoring base hit in the 13th.
The win allows Norfolk to close to within a game of Pawtucket in the wild-card standings. The Tides took six of the eight matchups with the PawSox this season.
The two teams were locked in a scoreless duel through eight innings before each side broke through with one apiece in the ninth. Former PawSox infielder Yamaico Navarro took Chris Martin deep for a solo home run that for the moment put Norfolk up 1-0.
Mitch Maier led off the last of the ninth before advancing to third base on a bloop single by Dan Butler, who has collected base hits in nine of his last 10 games.
No. 8 hitter Ronald Bermudez helped snap Pawtucket’s 0-for-8 drought with runners in scoring position when he singled in Maier with the tying run.
The two teams once again traded runs, this time in the 13th. Pawtucket knotted the contest when Alex Hassan singled down the right-field line to score Will Middlebrooks. Mitch Maier tried to play the role of hero when he lifted a fly ball to right field, but Mark Hamilton was thrown out at the plate in his bid to tag up.
Pawtucket saw several scoring chances slip through their clutches. The home team loaded the bases with no outs behind two walks and a Mitch Maier single. The next three PawSox were retired as Ronald Bermudez struck out swinging, Jeremy Hazelbaker grounded into a force out and Jonathan Diaz flew out to right field.
The eighth inning started off promising when Xander Bogaerts led off with a double. A wild pitch allowed the shortstop to advance to third base with Middlebrooks at the plate. Middlebrooks ended up bouncing out to Navarro at shortstop.
A sharp grounder to first base by Mark Hamilton couldn’t bring in Bogaerts, who wound up stranded after Hassan ended the frame with a strikeout.
The PawSox had a chance to push across the winning run in the ninth after Bermudez’ clutch hit, as the team had runners on first and second with no outs. Neither runner advanced as the next three hitters were set down with Bogaerts ending the threat with a line drive to center field that was tracked down.
Manager Gary DiSarcina deputized Friday’s contest as a “bullpen game” after the intended starter – Steven Wright – was summoned to Boston earlier in the week. Clayton Mortensen drew the nod and supplied DiSarcina with four scoreless innings of two-hit ball and five strikeouts.
The next reliever up was Jose De La Torre, who breezed through three scoreless innings. Alex Wilson passed his third rehab appearance with a scoreless eighth that saw him walk one and strike out one.
EXTRA BASES: To make room for Anthony Ranaudo, the PawSox sent struggling lefthander Chris Hernandez down to Double-A Portland. Hernandez had dropped six consecutive starts dating back to June 29. On the season he’s 3-9 with a 5.72 ERA in 24 games (19 starts). … Outfielder Jackie Bradley will have his right elbow re-examined this weekend. The outfielder is on the disabled list with inflammation. …The third-to-last road trip of the season kicks off Saturday night with the first of four games at Buffalo. The PawSox will give the ball to Rubby De La Rosa, who posted a 9.28 ERA in six July starts. … Sunday’s 6:05 p.m. game against the Bisons will air on NESN. … After Buffalo, the PawSox will have a day off on Wednesday before heading off to Syracuse for a four-game set. Pawtucket will have Monday, August 12 off before returning to McCoy Stadium the following day.