Despite three-hit outings from Mark Payton and Wilfredo Tovar, the Worcester Red Sox beat the Syracuse Mets, 7-6, after a three-run bottom of the ninth in the series opener at Polar Park on Tuesday night.
With Syracuse leading, 6-4, going to the bottom of the ninth, Worcester made its second comeback of the night. Roel Ramirez came out of the bullpen for the Mets. Jeremy Rivera drew a leadoff walk, and then Ryan Fitzgerald popped out. Yairo Muñoz followed with a single to put runners on first and second base. DeShields then worked a walk to load the bases for Joey Meneses. Meneses delivered with a game-tying, two-run single to knot the game up, 6-6. Then with Chad De La Guerra at the plate, a passed ball brought home DeShields from third base as game-winning run for Worcester, and the Woo Sox won, 7-6.
Syracuse (29-54) struck first with a pair of runs in the top of the second inning. Khalil Lee hit a leadoff home run, getting the green light on a 3-0 count to put the Mets in front, 1-0. Tovar followed with a single. A wild pitch by Woo Sox pitcher Connor Seabold moved Tovar to second base. After Calixte grounded out, Cody Bohanek was hit by a pitch. Payton followed with a double, scoring Tovar to make it a 2-0 lead for Syracuse.
Worcester (46-37) got on the board in the bottom of the third. DeShields drew a one-out walk, and Joey Meneses followed with an RBI double to cut the deficit in half, 2-1.
The Woo Sox added three more runs in the fourth inning to take the lead. Tate Matheny hit a one-out double and Jeremy Rivera followed with an RBI single to tie the game, 2-2. Then, Ryan Fitzgerald connected with a pitch for a go-ahead, two-run homer to put Worcester in front, 4-2.
The Mets tied things up in the top of the sixth. Lee led off with another hit, this time a double to left field. Tovar then delivered with his third base hit of the contest, an RBI double, to score Lee and make it a one-run game, 4-3. Matt Hall then came out of the bullpen to replace Seabold and forced a groundout from Orlando Calixte for the first out, but Tovar moved to third on the play. Hall then walked Bohanek, and with Payton at the plate, Bonahek stole second base to put runners on second and third. Payton hit a sacrifice fly, scoring Tovar to tie the game, 4-4.
Syracuse took back the lead in the top of the eighth inning. Tovar worked a one-out walk, and with Calixte at the plate, Tovar stole second base and then third. Calixte then singled, scoring Tovar to give the Mets a 5-4 lead. After Bonahek struck out, Calixte stole second base with Payton at the plate, and then Payton hit an RBI single to make it a two-run advantage, 6-4.
The Syracuse bullpen shined before the ninth inning with Yeizo Campos pitching two perfect innings that included two strikeouts, and Franklyn Kilomé retired six batters in a row, five with strikeouts, after allowing a leadoff single.
The Mets and Red Sox return to Polar Park on Wednesday afternoon for game two of the six-game series. First pitch is set for 12:15 p.m.