Left-hander Edwin Escobar, the Red Sox's No. 9 prospect, was one out away from completing a five-hit shutout for Triple-A Pawtucket on Wednesday in Game 1 of its International League semifinal series against Syracuse. But with two down in the ninth inning, Chiefs third baseman Brandon Laird launched a game-tying solo home run to left field.
Laird's home run ended Escobar's night, but Pawtucket's offense picked him up in extra innings. Left fielder Bryce Brentz led off the 10th with a double and advanced to third on a wild pitch. After two walks loaded the bases with no outs, third baseman Garin Cecchini, the Red Sox's No. 4 prospect, hit a walk-off single to give Pawtucket a 2-1 victory.
While Escobar was left with a no-decision, he pitched perhaps his best game of the year. He struck out seven batters, walked none and scattered six hits in 8 2/3 innings. He threw 99 pitches and pitched into the ninth inning for the first time since 2012.
Escobar was part of the package the Giants traded to the Red Sox in July in exchange for Jake Peavy. Escobar made five starts for Pawtucket after the deal, going 0-2 with a 4.28 ERA. He made his Major League debut Aug. 27, pitching an inning out of the bullpen before he was sent back to Triple-A last week.
Cecchini, ranked No. 58 on MLBPipeline.com's Top 100 Prospects list, finished the night 1-for-5. Brentz added three hits and first baseman Travis Shaw, the Red Sox's No. 19 prospect, opened the scoring when he led off the sixth inning with a homer.
The best-of-five series continues Thursday with Game 2 at Pawtucket. Right-hander Matt Barnes, the Red Sox's No. 12 prospect, is slated to start for Pawtucket. First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. ET and can be seen on MiLB.TV.