File this under the heading of just when you think you’ve seen everything.
The Pawtucket Red Sox were nursing a 6-5 lead Tuesday night against the Norfolk Tides entering the last of the fourth. Ryan Lavarnway beat out an infield hit with one out against starter Eddie Gamboa.
Lars Anderson followed by crushing – which is the applicable verb – a belt-high fastball that crashed off McCoy Stadium’s video board and smashed a pane. Besides extending Pawtucket’s lead to 8-5 the homer entered Anderson’s name in Pawtucket’s record book: it was the first ball ever hit off the seven-year-old video board. The homer was the fifth of the season for Anderson, who’s playing more left field in recent days with Mauro Gomez at first base. Gomez later belted a solo homer in the eighth, his 11th of the season.
Josh Kroeger added a solo blast in the fourth which chased Gamboa in favor of Oscar Villareal.
In retrospect, Pawtucket needed every run it could get en route to an 11-8 victory given the ineffectiveness of starter Ross Ohlendorf. After Pawtucket staked him to a 6-1 lead, Ohlendorf imploded in the top of the fourth and served up a solo home run to Jai Milller and then a three-run blast by ex-Red Sox Bill Hall.
Altogether, Ohlendorf allowed five runs on 10 hits replete with two walks, two hit batters and five strikeouts. He only threw 50 of 95 pitches for strikes. What made Ohlendorf’s lackluster performance even more important was the fact he has an opt-out clause which takes effect on June 1. If Ohlendorf isn’t placed on Boston’s 40-man roster, he can opt for free agency and attempt to sign with another team.
Conversely, if the Red Sox do add him to their 40-man they could return him to Pawtucket because he has an option left.
Anderson, meanwhile, delivered one of his more impressive performances of the season. He drew a bases-loaded walk in the first and lined an RBI single to left-center in the second. Anderson finished the game with four RBI which upped his season total to 25 – the second-highest total on the club.
Junichi Tazawa (3-1) replaced Ohlendorf in the fifth and, even though he allowed a run in the sixth, he did fan three and threw 24 of 35 pitches for strikes. Will Inman earned his fourth save in four opportunities after recording the last two outs in the ninth.