Pawtucket, R.I. – Only a one-out, eighth-inning single separated the Pawtucket Red Sox from a perfect game on Friday night at McCoy Stadium that ended with a 1-0 victory over the Louisville Bats. The Bats’ Eugenio Suarez laced a line drive to left field that broke up the bid after Brian Johnson and Miguel Celestino had retired the first 22 Louisville hitters. Johnson hurled six perfect innings with nine strikeouts to earn his sixth win.
Deven Marrero’s bases-loaded single in the second inning proved to be the only run the PawSox would need – and the only run they would get. Louisville starter Josh Smith had allowed two hits and a walk to open the inning before Marrero drew first blood. Consecutive infield flies and a foul-out would end the threat to Smith, who earned a tough-luck loss.
Johnson (6-3) had a strikeout in each of his six innings, and a pair in the second, fifth and sixth frames. The lefthander, who had thrown at least 90 pitches in each of his previous three starts, was limited to 74 on Friday.
Celestino came on to pitch the seventh and retired the Bats in order. He induced a Steve Selsky grounder before Suarez ended the bid for the PawSox’ first perfect game since Bronson Arroyo on August 10, 2003. After the single, Hembree came on for Pawtucket and retired all five hitters he faced to earn his sixth save.
With the win, Pawtucket (25-24) snapped a five-game losing streak.
The clubs will continue the series on Sunday evening at 6:05 P.M. Lefthander Henry Owens (2-3, 2.98) takes the mound for the Sox and will be opposed by Louisville southpaw David Holmberg (3-3, 5.13). Radio coverage on WHJJ and online will begin at 5:50.
Good seats are still available at the McCoy Stadium box office, by calling (401) 724-7300 or by visiting pawsox.com.